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View Poll Results: What action will encourage / induce / force people to follow traffic rules?
New laws, enforcement, police presence, traffic cameras and heavier fines 200 74.91%
Public activism 55 20.60%
Better driver training before as well as after issuing licenses 146 54.68%
Spreading the message of how to drive safe through newspaper ads / other media 37 13.86%
Nothing can help - people will carry on like this indefinitely 26 9.74%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 267. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 7th April 2015, 20:18   #1
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Default Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

It seems to be a disease that has taken both commercial and non-commercial drivers as well as riders in India in a death grip. Almost literally.

The disease of breaking traffic and road rules without a care in the world.

What is worse is that the disease is aggravated by a lack of knowledge and use of road signs and rules.

The traffic police forces and the governments at the Centre as well as the states seem to be fighting a losing battle against a massive brigade of unruly drivers and riders with a death wish - an apparent wish to die as well as kill. The situation so bad that it is a miracle when one does not spot dozens of bad drivers on even a short drive every day (Bad Drivers - How do you spot 'em). As to accidents, including fatal ones, the list of incidents is almost endless.

Strangely, we are more interested in looking at the accidents thread (over one crore views) and finding out how bad other drivers are (almost 10 lakh views), than in improving our own driving. We are not particularly interested in learning what is new in the new Road Transport & Safety Bill, which the government thinks will improve matters and reduce deaths on our roads - the thread has less than 10,000 views at the time of writing (Decoding the proposed Road Transport & Safety Bill, 2015). Even this (Things they donít teach you at an Indian driving school) has garnered less than sixty thousand views in over 2 years.

On this thread, we try to analyse the variety of ways in which road manners of motorists across India can be improved. Please contribute and write about any other option that can be used, if you think that would help.

What method would you prefer, to improve your own road manners and obedience of traffic regulations, or that of a close relative / dear friend / your own chauffeur?

In the following posts we elaborate on the various options given in the poll. Please read through before ticking your choices.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 8th April 2015 at 00:28.
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Old 7th April 2015, 21:32   #2
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Default New laws, enforcement, police presence, traffic cameras and heavier fines

The Road Transport & Safety Bill has been in the pipeline for long. WhatsApp messages have been circulating for months, explaining how steep the fines are going to be. Yet, the government appears to be dragging its feet in converting this Bill into law. Time and again, we hear about proposed reductions in the quantum of fines. Perhaps our lawmakers are themselves a little doubtful about whether they can comply with the rules themselves. There are also arguments about whether the steep fines will lead to corrupt practices among the traffic police forces across the country.

Yes, the traffic police across many cities are trying their best to rein in errant motorists. They check for speed violations on specific sections of the road, and that too, not regularly. The rest of the roads can turn into racing tracks for all they care. Most traffic police forces do not have speed guns that can be used in the dark - so, speeding at night is considered safe from prosecution and fines.

Early morning, mid-afternoon or late evening, the traffic police personnel prefer staying in bed. Obviously, there are not enough personnel to carry on doing duty round the clock. In big cities like Delhi or Bangalore, they are often deputed on VIP duty, to sanitize routes before ministers pass through. And I am not even talking about traffic police being entirely absent on most stretches of Indian highways, where traffic rule violation is the norm rather than the exception.

Obviously, every driver knows this. Jumping a red signal will not invite a penalty at certain hours of the day. Most cops ignore vehicles that stop a couple of feet beyond the stop line. Parking in a No Parking zone with the engine running and the driver in the seat (or even with the bonnet open, pretending the car has broken down) is often ignored by traffic police on duty. Even if they do take note, a paltry hundred-rupee fine is peanuts for a lot of motorists, considering that malls charge Rs.50-70 for parking anyway. And one can drive off as soon as a cop approaches - that saves the fine as well as the mall parking fee!

Now, what if there were cameras at every traffic junction, or near every No Parking zone? Would people still jump red lights or park illegally? Or would they disable the cameras after a few days, or even hope and wait for them to get stolen? And what about steeply increased traffic fines? Would they prefer to pay in cash without a receipt, getting a bargain of 50% discount in the process?

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Do you think new laws, more stringent enforcement, a more constant presence of traffic police personnel, extensive use of traffic cameras, and steeper fines for each type of traffic violation will help to improve the traffic situation on Indian roads? Or do you think there is any better way of making people comply with the rules of driving?

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 7th April 2015 at 23:55.
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Old 7th April 2015, 22:40   #3
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Default Public activism

Public activism against bad driving has not really taken off in India, although the traffic police in a number of cities have been trying hard to reach out to citizens, asking them to report traffic violations. One of the problems is that drivers don't carry cameras (even cell phone cameras) at the ready all the time. By the time they are ready to take a picture, the evidence of violation is often not to be seen. And dashcams are even rarer than people who follow rules anyway.

However, up in Russia, the Stop a Douchebag movement, in which rule-breaking drivers, even violent ones, are blocked by ultra-polite young citizens with stickers who are sometimes assisted by cops, seems to have caught on in a big way. Even other road users encourage them everywhere. Check out their YouTube channel at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMr...Ri1pvlRsLxsqJQ.

Not that citizens of other countries don't protest against bad drivers either. Here's one:

But I would be terrified doing that, thinking that such an SUV in India can actually run me over and drive away. After all, without enough policing, we take road rage to an entirely different level altogether. I recall another video that I am unable to trace now, where a gentleman stands in front of cars and blocks them because they have violated the stop line. In India, he would be another likely candidate for being run over by a driver stricken with road rage.

Do you think a mass movement by young citizens in India would help reduce lawless driving in our cities and on our highways?

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 8th April 2015 at 00:30.
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Old 7th April 2015, 23:54   #4
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Default Better driver training before as well as after issuing licenses

Driving training? Oh, so that's what the two-thousand-rupee tax is supposedly for, that driving schools charge before issuing me my driver's license! But then, no one seems to have trained me!

Training drivers to drive is nobody's job - but everybody's business. Maruti made it theirs too. Their Institutes of Driving Training and Research and the dealer-run Maruti Driving Schools (MDS) do not do a competent job of hands-on teaching. Watch how a trainee is made to hog the right lane, after she stalled the car twice at a red light:


Traffic police regulate traffic, but have nothing to do with driver training or putting up street signs in India, unlike in most other countries. Who, then, teaches driving trainers to teach driving? A query made me discover that anyone with a degree or diploma in mechanical or automobile engineering, and holding a valid driving license for 5 years, can teach anyone else to drive. It is not necessary for the trainer to have even driven any distance in those 5 years. Trainers are poorly paid (5,000 - 15,000 INR / month, depending on the city), and their turnover rate in even reputed training schools like IDTR are remarkably high - so IDTR does not bother to impart intensive training for their own trainers either. In any case, their workload is so high, the IDTRs and MDS are just not able to provide intensive training to any learner.

Do you think that better driver training would be the best way to improve traffic rule compliance amongst Indian drivers? If so, how can better driver training be imparted, given the current scenario of abysmal training and testing before one receives a driving license? The Road Transport & Safety Bill does not appear to address this issue at all - OTOH, it speaks about driver testing in a controlled environment using cameras and sensors.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 7th April 2015 at 23:56.
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Old 8th April 2015, 00:09   #5
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Default Spreading the message of how to drive safe through newspaper ads / other media

Traffic Police in many cities spend substantial sums of money to insert advertisements in newspapers and electronic media, as well as maintain a presence on social media like Twitter and Facebook, in an attempt to educate and warn drivers about the right way to drive as well as the perils of breaking traffic rules.

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Yet, driving discipline hardly appears to improve over time, and most people who read these advertisements choose not to inculcate such habits (or choose not to remember them) when they are actually behind the wheel.

Do you think a more intensive campaign in print, electronic and social media (than what is currently being done) would make Indian drivers follow traffic rules and drive better? Or do you think this exercise is simply a waste of public money?
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Old 8th April 2015, 00:23   #6
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Default Nothing can help - people will carry on like this indefinitely

And finally, let me ask...

are you absolutely convinced after all these years of driving in India, that there is nothing that can be done to improve the traffic situation on our roads?

- Are there too many badly trained / untrained drivers on the road already, and it is impossible to remove or retrain them all within any reasonable period of time?

- Is the country and its policing system so corrupt that it is impossible to get rid of the evil of bad / dangerous driving and accidents from our roads?

- Do successive governments lack the will to improve roads as well as driver behaviour, because of various compulsions (e.g. financial, political, etc.)?

- Are we a country whose citizens just hate following rules?

Any other suggestions apart from the ones above are also welcome.
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Old 8th April 2015, 09:54   #7
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 8th April 2015, 10:17   #8
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

My view is that Law enforcement, fines, etc will definitely help. However the resolution has to be at the source level. Few points from me:

1. New driving licenses should be issued only after checking all the awareness of the rules and traffic signs. Similarly the renewals (yes !!) should also go through strict check of the awareness. These are done elsewhere in the world (better world!) very systematically, hence it is not impossible.

2. The current generation drivers (many of them) need to un-learn many things that have become 'normal' of late e.g driving on the opposite side of the road, driving/riding on the foot path,etc. Hence the new generation is the best bet. Start the awareness from the schools (the regular schools and not the driving schools). I am sure they become good drivers when they become eligible to drive and also their parents will listen when they tell them to follow the rules.

Last edited by Eddy : 8th April 2015 at 10:20. Reason: Spacing
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Old 8th April 2015, 10:22   #9
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Self discipline and civic sense.
If that is not the case, then an honest police force that enforces the law.
If people cannot get away with it, they will stop violating rules.
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Old 8th April 2015, 10:24   #10
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Default Re: Nothing can help - people will carry on like this indefinitely

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
And finally, let me ask...
Let me share my thoughts:
Quote:
are you absolutely convinced after all these years of driving in India, that there is nothing that can be done to improve the traffic situation on our roads?
No. Many countries were worse or were in same situations years back. But they have changed so much it is hard to believe the extent of change. So it is possible with India too.
Quote:
- Are there too many badly trained / untrained drivers on the road already, and it is impossible to remove or retrain them all within any reasonable period of time?
We have to go with 80:20 rule. If 80% of drivers drive better then other 20% doesn't matter or will fall in line.
Quote:
- Is the country and its policing system so corrupt that it is impossible to get rid of the evil of bad / dangerous driving and accidents from our roads?
Any change has to start from top, right from the 1st citizen.
Quote:
- Do successive governments lack the will to improve roads as well as driver behaviour, because of various compulsions (e.g. financial, political, etc.)?
For our Government, more than will, it is the priority. People blame fellow road users for all that is bad. In most cases, it is missing infrastructure or poorly designed infrastructure. Till people ask their representatives, it may not happen. But before that people must know what to ask
Quote:
- Are we a country whose citizens just hate following rules?
No. Let me give an example. Every religious function has complex set of rules which everyone follows it. Actually it shouldn't matter if people hate it. What is required has to be done.
Quote:
Any other suggestions apart from the ones above are also welcome.
Discipline is the foundation for any successful institution. Some institution like military discipline is strict and in some like companies it is relaxed. There are written & unwritten rules to the discipline which is part of the culture of that organization. These rules are built by the founder/owner or manager of that company and is passed on year after year.

The roads, which are public property, are owned and operated by Government. It is the responsibility of Government to maintain discipline on roads. There is no single fix. It must be an end to end fix.

Last edited by msdivy : 8th April 2015 at 10:25.
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Old 8th April 2015, 10:26   #11
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

IMO, the only think that'll help is option 1. The fear of law & hefty fines (will the bribes go up proportionately ?) is what will stop most people from jumping a signal and avoid DUI.

Of course, implementation has to be consistent.

Training can help the current generation of drivers only to a certain extent. We've been used to breaking rules too much to make a drastic change. Stricter licensing norms for the next Gen will help only if the real world drivers follow the rules and do not corrupt the young ones !
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Old 8th April 2015, 10:44   #12
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Dear SS-Traveller,

You have summarized the traffic woes succinctly. The chief cause is utter disregard for fellow human/compatriots. This lack of empathy has resulted in a feeling of entitlement where each and every one feels that he has the right to break the rule, or worse, I wont stand in a line, lines and Q's are for the meek.

As you have mentioned corruption is rampant, so why not legalize it? Empower the traffic cops to take home their collection. Fines need to be jacked up to exorbitant levels to deter people in India. This may lead to the cops misusing it, but in the end, there is fear factor in the minds of these drivers, who will certainly think for a moment before breaking one. Over the period of time, people will get used to disciplined driving.

Secondly, for the lane cutters, driving on the wrong side, have them fined heavily plus make it mandatory for them to stay put for xx hours at the spot doing forced public service depending on the severity of their violation.

Finally, as we are advancing leaps and bound in technology, Can we think of having a smart card type driving licence, which can be immediately docked for points? Also cars should have a mechanism of validating the licence for points before the driver can drive off for the day, in case they override it it should alert the traffic cop site for violation.

All other measures of gentle persuasion will not have an effect. I've witnessed school kids, NGO's and others appeal to the motorists with no avail. Raat gayi baat gayi types, and we are back to square one the next day.

Call it wishful thinking, but desperate time requires desperate measures, above all, the government must have the gall to stick to the rules and be ready to face severe criticism.

Last edited by kutoos : 8th April 2015 at 10:45.
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Old 8th April 2015, 11:09   #13
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Any initiative to improve the driving habits has 3 components:

1) Awareness: We need to have Audio Visual sessions mandatory for all driving licence applicants. A 30 minute video should suffice to explain the basic concepts of lane discipline, parking, road signs, and traffic laws.

2) Enforcement: More policing to stop delinquent behavior on roads. Rather than focusing on ridiculous things like tints, traffic cops need to enforce rules such as stopping before the zebra crossing, stopping for red signals, lane discipline, driving free of intoxicants, heavy vehicles with proper working tail lights, no unnecessary honking, helmets while riding 2 wheelers, polluting vehicles etc.

3) Revocation of driving privileges for repeat offenders: Currently hardly done in India. We need to ensure that repeated offenders are stripped of their driving licenses. If you are a habitual offender and cannot abide by the rules, you should not be driving.

Do all three and you will see a definite improvement in our driving habits within a year.
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Old 8th April 2015, 11:56   #14
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddy View Post
IMO, the only think that'll help is option 1. The fear of law & hefty fines (will the bribes go up proportionately ?) is what will stop most people from jumping a signal and avoid DUI.

Of course, implementation has to be consistent.
Agreed.

SST sir jee,

The solution is simple but requires dedication by police and strong political will (unlike the Kerala case).

You just have to visit Chennai to appreciate what dedicated application by Police can achieve - they have chosen a set of behaviors that they will not tolerate and they rigorously enforce them:
  1. No parking by cars on busy roads (i've almost gotten challaned in <2 mins twice in two different parts of chennai!)
  2. No red light incursion / jumping by cars
  3. Drunk driving checks
  4. Quick (<10 min) response to jams / blockages in city streets and clearing them efficiently (something I never saw in 30 years in Delhi).
Others of course they give a free pass to many things - (jaywalking; buses jumping red lights; bikers without helmets; car drivers without seat belts etc).

Its also another matter that Chennai Police in general is super-efficient in patrolling and has made it a very safe place, esp for women, and that Chennai-ites in general don't love to come to blows (unlike the standard road rage in Delhi) and are quite okay with letting others / pedestrians pass first. That cultural change in NCR is not happening in my lifetime for sure.

Quote:
Training can help the current generation of drivers only to a certain extent.
Agreed. Its a nice to have stuff in my mind. We can improve 80% of our problems by simple enforcement as the CWG had shown in Delhi. For the remaining 20%, you need training.

Last edited by phamilyman : 8th April 2015 at 12:04.
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Old 8th April 2015, 12:30   #15
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Why is it that the traffic police enforced the rules dealing with property/revenue with such enthusiasm but turn a blind eye towards rules dealing with life safety?

Red light jumping, weaving in and out of lanes, speeding, parking anywhere on the road, headlights aimed at eyes etc are easily overlooked, however the police is mighty efficient in checking the PUC/NOC/permits etc
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