Public service ads don’t work but jail does!
Today on the front page of the DNA there was news that not just drunk drivers but even those using cell phones while driving (including hands-free sets) are being sent to jail, even if it is for a day. Cell phones, the Mumbai traffic police say have to switched off otherwise the driver could get into trouble. This latter part (switching off phones and handsfree sets) appeared in the longer version, in the print edition. Ofcourse this switch off rule applies in case the driver is alone.
Pretty tough eh? But as I outlined in a previous write-up, the Mumbai police are acting tough nowadays.
I thought I would publish some public service ads by the Mumbai Traffic Police here…precisely because I didn’t think their message worked…the message that drinking and driving and cell phones and driving is dangerous. What the police needed were ads showing people in jail cells! Because the fact is that no one thinks they are going to die. In fact when journalists interviewed those who were caught and put into jail, they were angry and indignant. They felt they were driving just fine! The police in fact should make a documentary showing how well-heeled people suffer in jails, the physical hardship they have to endure and the company of criminals. You don’t even have to be creative…just lay down the facts…images of goondas sharing the cell with you and the picture of the measly meal you get! Perhaps a close-up of bedbugs might work even better! And the filthy overflowing loos – an image of that is the best deterrent to anyone who has a nice clean loo at home.
Overall, spending the night in jail is a traumatic experience for most people, and very humiliating. Right now people still believe that they can get away with a bribe, but clearly, you can’t depend on that anymore!
So here the images of the ads…ads which express what the Mumbai police were trying to do nicely. All of these ads may not be running right this month, or if they are, they are in select places only. The ads are linked to the sites from where I got the images from.
Interestingly, the police have been innovative in this design. These coasters were printed using a special invisible red ink, which spreads if a customer places a glass on it (due to the moisture). The coasters were used in many bars in Mumbai.
If you want to know more about the regulations of the Mumbai traffic police you can check out their site here. But the main thing is that the law has finally got itself some teeth. Clever imagery doesn’t work. Jail has.
Update: After media criticism for putting people in jail for using cell-phones while driving (like Singapore), the Mumbai Police have clarified that it is the combination of rash driving and cell phone usage which gets people the day in jail.
I do not agree with those who feel that going to jail is too harsh a measure. Big problems need strong solutions and frankly I do admire the state of Singapore which has some tough traffic laws.
Related Reading: Reasons for road accidents in India
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