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Old 16th September 2014, 17:36   #136
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

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Originally Posted by blacksport View Post
Not in India. Here it is much cheaper to pay the bribe.
That is exactly what the new laws may change. People would think twice before they violate traffic laws, and when trying to bribe traffic police men who try to cook up fictitious charges. Small time lawyers also would now find a steady income.
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Old 16th September 2014, 17:49   #137
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

Here is my take on three of the key discussion- / counter-points to the Government's initiative

1) Traffic cops may get greedy and impose fines without an offence having taken place or in case of borderline cases

My Take:
We already live in an environment where the police, if they intend to, have adequate authority and powers to charge the common citizen on any number of offences and make his / her life a living hell. There are however, checks and balances / deterrents which contribute towards preventing excessive misuse of this authority. Such deterrents include: public protests, monitoring and actions by seniors, courts, political pressure etc. I am optimistic that one would still need to cause an offence in order to be troubled by the cops. Quite obviously, there would be cases of gross misuse just as they are in the case of other laws or rules - and *that* is the residual risk we have live with (and we already live with this risk). These may be burst of cases of abuse initially, but given the higher fines, people would increasingly be willing to take action in case of wrongful charge instead of taking it lying down (because the fine / bribe amounts are so low)


What the Governments should ensure:
a) Clear procedures to mandatoriliy capture evidence of the offence. The burden of proof has to be on the police. While this is even currenly enshrined by law, the Governments must set down evidence capture as a mandatory criteria for issuing challans and must publicise this requirement as a right of the common citizen, in order to act as a check on the system.

What the motorists should do:
a) Be aware of your rights already available to you or which may be granted to you by the system. There is a significant gap in terms of awareness of laws, rules and procedures. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh, the right to issue challans is with a Traffic Sub-inspector and not with constables / home-guards deployed on traffic duties. But most people being unaware of this happily negotiate with home guards, even though there is no officer present.
b) Get a dash-cam: This would help bring out your point of view, in case things take an ugly turn


2) Influential people may go scot free while the common man would bear the brunt

My Take:
This absolutely *will* happen and has been happening for the past 60 years. So, no immediate change. I have, however, noticed that today common citizens also wilfully break the law (those on scooters / bikes, auto wallahs, Tata Ace drivers, personal car owners) even to the extent of driving the wrong way with impunity! If the common people can be made to follow the rules, it would still improve the conditions by 90% +. Of course, the resentment of me paying INR 15K while the netaji goes scot free would hurt even more, but we have to make a start somewhere. If 90% of current traffic offenders mend their ways, it would eventually bring a culture change 10 years down the line and even the netajis may fall in line

What the Governments should do:
a) Widely publicise the change in fine amounts. This should help the poorest of the poor avoid getting into a situation where the fine can wreck their lives.
b) Eventually, adopt a system of linking fines to incomes. While this may still not deter netajis / political / government servant types, but is still likely to impact and influence those who use money as a way out of every mess. The police and the media would also be more interested in following up high profile cases where the fines are (say) INR 10 Lakh +. This may be a good initial step towards bringing equality / democracy to our roads

3) The Government is not a position to improve infrastructure while it is hiking the penalties

My Take:
The state of road infrastructure is already better in most states compared to 20 years ago, even though many of the roads and associated infra is still in a shocking state. If one is to believe that infrastucture shall continue to improve, it is high time that the other piece of the problem (wilful non-compliance) be curbed. If this area is not addressed, then sure, we may get the Yamuna Expressway, but we would also have people who are willing to run at 240 KPH and are willing to risk the lives of everyone around them.

What the Governments should do:
Plough some of the money from traffic fines back into Infra improvements. And do away with / reduce tolls!

Last edited by vipul_singh : 16th September 2014 at 17:57.
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Old 16th September 2014, 17:58   #138
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

No doubt that its a step towards a greater good. The problem is that in India everything soon takes an unforeseen path and people find a different (and not so good) use of a perfectly good solution.

With eChallans having become a norm now every traffic cop carries a camera. How do they use it? Watch closely, especially during the target closure months. A green channel is on and vehicles are zooming past. and then when about the last 1-2 seconds are still left suddenly the cop steps out and starts taking snaps of the vehicles going past. They will all get eChallans although they passed a green channel.

I have paid such such challans multiple times before I got wise to what the trick is. Recently though I got a challan that made me laugh out. I received the lowest denomination challan of Rs.200 for having crossed the STOP line on a signal. For a minute I was baffled. I am extremely careful of where that line actually is. Standing a foot ahead of that line does not let me win any race but has its negative sides. So I could not fathom how I got this challan. And then I saw something that tickled my funny bone. The image was of my car's rear plates. Essentially, a cop snapped the picture when the vehicle was running. Mind you, I got a challan for crossing the line not jumping the signal which has a higher penalty. When you really stop after crossing the line the cop comes up and gestures to the line and takes a snap... of the front plate of the car.

I am yet to pay that challan. May be I will do that. But this is the problem of technology. You never know when they take a snap and send it to you. Frankly speaking, after 1.5 or 2 months when you get these challans you can't even recall whether you passed the junction it mentions in the challan, much less contest it. Solution could be to ensure that any pic taken by a handheld cam is done with acknowledgement of the driver. Automated challans should only be based on the automated cameras that are hopefully not manipulated.
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Old 16th September 2014, 18:10   #139
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

Although this might be a great initiative, is there a mechanism to ensure that corrupt officals who have no respect for their duty do not take undue advantage of the same?

Here is that latest example of the same:

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Old 16th September 2014, 18:11   #140
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

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Originally Posted by sachinpk View Post
That is exactly what the new laws may change. People would think twice before they violate traffic laws, and when trying to bribe traffic police men who try to cook up fictitious charges. Small time lawyers also would now find a steady income.
What would eventually happen is debatable. While you think, the law would result in what is intended (less violations), my point is that it would result in some unintended consequences (more bribery). There is something called the law of unintended consequences, which you may want to ponder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences
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Old 16th September 2014, 18:12   #141
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

3. For the purpose of this section, “uses” includes any activity that could divert a
person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Such types of
distractions include, sending a short message service (SMS) message, watching a
video, other phone applications as may be specified by the National Authority
.
[/i][/quote]


Does it mean that you cannot also speak to your fellow passengers while driving
Though I do support the initiative by government in this regard, It seems that the traffic police have become more powerful and they can interpret your fine in multiple ways, presently the cops request nominal amount for not preparing a challan, I think this will shoot up in future
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Old 16th September 2014, 18:38   #142
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

The other day on NDTV Prime time (w/ Ravish Kumar) this bill and the proposed penalties were discussed with a 360 degree view. Everyone should view the prog (must be on the ndtv site).
Having said that I hv the following view -

1) The amount of fine must be raised and it must be an amount that works as a deterrent. I agree that 15000 to 30000 are figures that seem to have come from someone who has been really ticked off by the traffic situation. The argument lot of people seem to be making is that these numbers are not realistic and may result in a great payday for a lot of traffic cops. Maybe but I hv a different view. A less than upright cop will not settle for 2000 when he knows that the alternative is 10-15K so the bargained amounts (maybe 4-5K) also have a significant deterrent value. If the fine was raised to only, lets say, 2000 then the payoff will be in the region of 500-1000 which may not serve as an adequate deterrent.
I have a vice-taking calls while driving. If these fines come into play I will switch off my phone or put in on auto answer with a msg) mode for the duration of the drive but will never pick it up as I do now...15K..

2) A cop on the show spoke about a contactless system where videotaped evidence would be available for most of the misdemeanors. Lots of people hv mentioned that the harassment of cops will increase. I must say that I hv been stopped by traffic a couple of times - sometimes I got away after getting a rap on my knuckles and a few times an actual fine was paid.
BUT I have to say that NOT ONCE in my life have I been stopped and unduly harassed by a traffic cop. Every Time I hv been stopped I was on the wrong side of law and got what was coming - fine or otherwise.
But still all recalcitrant cops must be shown the door in a time bond manner.

3) I have a concern that the amounts and their enforcement in areas other than metros will be a task. Imagine challaning someone 15K in some rural area - ain't happening. At the village levels how would the enforcement be ensured.

4) Re D/l - It's a fact that in our country Driving licenses are 'bought' and not 'earned'. Most drivers don't know the difference between a broken and a continuous line and so on. Driving is learnt with a license in the pocket..!
Technology now exists that allows examination of a drivers skill level without intervention/oversight of another human being/inspector.
I feel that a new license should be designed/devised. All license holders must be asked to come in (batches eg license 123 to 456) and take the test. Depending on their result new licenses should be issued or the old ones cancelled and driver sent back to work on their skill/knowledge.
I very strongly believe that this one step will remove 10-15% of the drivers from the roads.

I am in the process of reading this law and will be ranting from time to time but I would like to make a suggestion - This forum has some serious brains as members. It would be a great idea if we could look at this issue that affects us all and come up with some suggestions that could be sent as our collective input on this particular legislation. I can think of no better way and no better opportunity to make our mark on a legislation that directly influences something that we are all passionate about.
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Old 16th September 2014, 18:53   #143
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

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Originally Posted by richie4u View Post
the citizen is not an epitome of humility or compliance. This is an example of wrong implementation of public management on part of the traffic cop, he just lost his cool due to some high voltage exchanges.

This shows under what pressure these chaps have to operate under. I sort of sympathize with the cop here.
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Old 16th September 2014, 23:01   #144
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

Hike in Fine Amount exorbitantly will lead to more corruption. Rather they should study the Points System available in UK and other Countries.

If the Points increase to a certain level, there is automatic suspension of License for 6 months. And the Points also decrease, If there are no violations in every Quarter. Fines always are a Fuel to the Corruption Fire.
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Old 17th September 2014, 06:22   #145
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

I have not read the text here, but are there any guidelines for the cops as well e.g.

1) Cops cannot pull you over if you have not committed an offense
2) Before asking for license / registration, cops should provide an explanation of why the driver is pulled over
3) Interactions with cops / drivers should be video recorded. All charges should be video recorded.
4) Cops should provide id if asked by the driver
5) All fines should be electronically paid
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Old 17th September 2014, 09:39   #146
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Angry Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

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Originally Posted by lurker View Post
I sort of sympathize with the cop here.
I would differ here. The way the document was being demanded made the commuter some kind of criminal where the excessive force was being used. Also would city cops over rule the traffic cops jurisdiction? It was sheer display of power which is wrong. The commuter may be wrong but the method used to question is totally wrong. The traffic cops look like meek spectators in the entire episode.
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Old 17th September 2014, 10:09   #147
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

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Originally Posted by Zappo
A green channel is on and vehicles are zooming past. and then when about the last 1-2 seconds are still left suddenly the cop steps out and starts taking snaps of the vehicles going past. They will all get eChallans although they passed a green channel.
I will play the devil's advocate and give the benefit of doubt to the police man. No signal turns from Green to Red all of a sudden. It is always Green->Orange->Red. The rule (and safe practise) is that all vehicles stop before the signal as soon as the signal turns Orange (and NOT Red). The orange signal is there for helping the vehicles in the intersection to clear, before the traffic comes in from other side. Now with this see what the traffic police man is doing. As soon as he knows the signal is going to turn Orange, he slowly steps out and keeps the camera ready. And he would start clicking away and people who get trapped are the ones who went ahead even when the signal was at orange, or even worse when the signal turned red.

In India, interpretation of signals by drivers is a bit different, and that is what the whole problem lies.
Green: Zip through the junction as if you are an express train given the "line clear", right on the main line.
Orange: Zip through even at a higher speed, before the signal turns red.
Red: Slow down, see if the traffic from the other side has started moving. If NO, see if the vehicle can be sped past the signal. With a glance see if a Traffic police man have seen it happening. If the vehicle gets stopped by him, plead that the driver is in a hurry or that signal was still green. If Vehicles have started coming from opposite side, curse and brake hard. And then cry about an injust society, corrupt police men and what not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurker
the citizen is not an epitome of humility or compliance.....
This shows under what pressure these chaps have to operate under. I sort of sympathize with the cop here.
By no way can we clearly say that all Indian police men are efficient, honest or non-corrupt. But we need to understand one thing. A police man is part of the same society which we all belong to. So if a society kind of allows corruption, the police man would have no problems in taking bribes. In a society where physical strength and bullying power carries weight (than logic and reason), we cannot assume that police men would be really polite (especially to people who have less power).

So if we expect a London Bobby behaviour from a constable in UP or Bihar, we are living in a fantasy world . I have friends in the police who clearly say that some people only tone down their aggression if they get two slaps across the face. A slap on the face is much more ego-bursting than a hit in any part of the body. Policing in India is a high pressure job, and it takes a toll on health, family life of the officers.

NOTE: A police man under goes a training of 9 months, and that training cannot change the behaviour of any person to a great extent. A police recruit joins may be at the age of 18 (and above). Till that age he has been actively part of the same society, which he is supposed to police. In pretty much entire world the educational level of police officers are average (and in some cases below average), so again we cannot expect them to be "intellectuals", or champions of every thing they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaaz
Fines always are a Fuel to the Corruption Fire.
Fines are there pretty much in every country, even those which have traffic penalty points. Fines ensure immediate loss of some thing important - i.e money. But in many countries fines are levied by a court and paid at the courts. Only in a few countries like India, we have Traffic police men collecting spot fines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatpower
but are there any guidelines for the cops as well e.g.
No guide lines in the draft Bill, but these guide lines generally comes as Rules or directives/standing order from higher police officials. In your list #2, #4 are generally done by all police officers. #5 is implemented in a few states. And provision to pay a fine in a court always existed.
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Old 17th September 2014, 11:59   #148
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

What is needed is change in the mindset & attitude of the government & traffic cops. The job of traffic cops is to ensure smooth flow of traffic. In India, both government & traffic cops believe their job is to fine, penalise & challan the driver's. This is why you see cars stuck in traffic jams but the cops hide behind trees and jump out the moment some vehicle 'jumps' a signal.
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Old 17th September 2014, 12:11   #149
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

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What is needed is change in the mindset & attitude of the government & traffic cops. The job of traffic cops is to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
It is true that many of the police men take the lazy way out - i.e just step aside and allow the traffic to go the way it generally does any ways. But I would also suggest you stand next to a traffic police men in cities like Bangalore. Try to listen to his walkie-talkie (off course he may not like it). We can clearly hear the messages going back and forth, regarding traffic blocks and what they are trying to do to clear it. At least in Bangalore I can for sure tell that they are no "Emperor Nero, who is playing the fiddle when Rome burnt". They also have their own fair share of limitations.

Enforcing traffic rules (in which ever fashion, and what ever priority), by fining etc. are very much within the purview of traffic police. No, they don't have the luxury to decide that - Okay let me focus on ensuring a smooth traffic flow, and take sign-offs from every one. Then I shall focus on checking for violations and levying fines". These are all small pieces of one big puzzle.
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Old 17th September 2014, 12:13   #150
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Default Re: Government of India to redraft 26-year old Indian Motor Vehicle Law

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Originally Posted by amit View Post
What is needed is change in the mindset & attitude of the government & traffic cops. The job of traffic cops is to ensure smooth flow of traffic. In India, both government & traffic cops believe their job is to fine, penalise & challan the driver's. This is why you see cars stuck in traffic jams but the cops hide behind trees and jump out the moment some vehicle 'jumps' a signal.
That's bit unfair. Delhi will come to a stand still if these cops are out of duty even for a couple of hours. I pity them working in harsh conditions like temperatures above 40 degrees, pollution and arrogant behavior of VIPs on the road.

Need of the hour is increasing the manpower and improving technology in traffic department. There is a major shortfall of traffic cops and they need modern technology to check breaking laws and checking corruption.
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