Team-BHP > Road Safety

View Poll Results: What action will encourage / induce / force people to follow traffic rules?
New laws, enforcement, police presence, traffic cameras and heavier fines 202 75.09%
Public activism 56 20.82%
Better driver training before as well as after issuing licenses 148 55.02%
Spreading the message of how to drive safe through newspaper ads / other media 38 14.13%
Nothing can help - people will carry on like this indefinitely 26 9.67%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 269. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 9th April 2015, 16:16   #46
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

While use of technology and heavier fines are certainly going to help in my opinion, to some extent I believe the attitude of our police force is also to be blamed for the increase in traffic violations. I have complained several times on the Guragaon traffic police website about the problem of wrong side driving in Cyber City Gurgaon. I am sure anyone who has gone to cyber city must have noticed it. I wonder why cant the Gurgaon traffic police post one of their constable to challan vehicles in cyber city. I am sure the police will be able to hit a jackpot in just one day.
Public activism in India is frought with a huge risk so even if it were effective, I wouldnt recommend it.
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Old 9th April 2015, 17:03   #47
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Hats off to the author of this thread.

Channelized the seething rage and boiling blood that my wife and me suffer and suppress every single day that we drive the car out of our building...

Numerous occasions of mid-road arguments, only to be called a fool or mocked at.
Trying to explain common sense, common road rules to people met with a weird glance, or a wave of the hand signifying 'aage badho' - or the usual - 'tum kya ukhaad loge' attitude.

I wish Public activism would work in India. I just don't see that happening.

Stringent measures and fines seems to be the cry of the day - (including severe punishment for rapists and terrorists) - but doesn't really happen in our Indian judiciary.
Yes it would be lovely if these could be imposed.
But then I am sure bribery would rise manifold. Barely are we managing to battle corruption.
A million CCTV cameras armed with a robust software that will track and fine - armed with your license coming up for review every 3 years (point system) could lead to a decrease.
Even a dip of 25-30% could eventually lead to a decline in the trend and general attitude.

Motor training schools are a joke. Private instructors do the job sometimes. Almost 90% of what it should be ideally.
It took me 6 months of regular reprimands to make my driver learn to obey road rules.
And he STILL tries to jump a signal if I am not looking or turns without giving an indicator.

The other day my wife asked me why did I overtake from the left (since I usually don't break rules - and I am the moron who is standing at a red light waiting for it to turn green while others continue to honk behind).
I said there are 2 traffic rules I cannot follow no matter how hard I try.

1. Stick to the right lane - because others - Trucks, Buses, Auto-rickshaws come and hog the right lane even on a 6 lane road - and refuse to budge despite honking, flashing the dipper - I cannot continue behind them at 35 kmph and am forced to overtake from the left

2. Some of the ridiculous speed limits that have been decided by some pencil pushing clerk somewhere who probably never drives - EVER.
Infact there has been an incident where a traffic constable himself said - that I bet you won't be able to travel on BWSL at 50 kmph. It is just not possible. But what to do - this is what the board says and thus we fine.

Mumbai Mirror recently had a long campaign - Reclaim our Footpaths.
I myself know of MANY MANY footpaths that have been de-congested, re-tiled and are absolutely clean for walking and YET we have pedestrians walking in the middle of the road. Being a danger to their lives as well as ours.
What is the solution for that?
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Old 9th April 2015, 22:46   #48
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

An utopian society would be the one where people understood why compliance to rules is important & where people understood that the cost of policing comes from their own pockets in form of the taxes which they pay; the same money can be utilised in a far better manner such as better surfaced roads with sufficient lane markers; traffic lights .. etc... etc..

Here is my 3 point plan if it is viable :

i) Driving should be made a privilege ! Even an existing driver should be go through an licensing process with far more higher standards of evaluation. Evaluation should be on the lines of why there is a need to behave in traffic; rather than what to do; almost like a critical reasoning section of a competitive exam :-). Professional drivers should be trained in vocational training institutes where they treat their jobs with respect; thought how to administer first aid; basic fire safety and rescue.. The society perceives them at the moment as a 'driver' but after such a certification and training process, the society will perceive them as 'Professionals' just as how an salaried person is perceived.

ii) Insurance companies should make it exorbitant to renew policies based on a point based penalty system; an rfid chip in the number plates with readers installed at many places & junctions should confirm that a person is driving with a valid license a registration number and an insurance policy. How to do that ? funnel traffic through lanes just like we have our toll ways.

iii) And the most of important of them all ! Be the change rather than all of us only speaking about it.

I am every bit a proud Indian ! but our streets do not convey our rich culture and attitude. A solution driven by science and self awareness is the solution to this problem. Many will probably perceive this solution as too 'idealistic'; but I frankly think it is realistic.
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Old 10th April 2015, 01:54   #49
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

While everything can help, we need to do what's most effective per resource utilized first. Right infrastructure is the way to go.

The following are few pointers.
  1. Traffic Lights wherever it's needed

    The economics (and humanity!) of having a troop of cops controlling the traffic instead of having a set of lights is been beyond me and will always be.

  2. Traffic Flow Study

    One main reason for clogging is the unscientific routing of the traffic around instead of having straight forward management. This causes vehicles to stay longer in the same spot while an earlier exit was possible. There's a lot of scope for transportation engineering in Indian cities with current infrastructure.

  3. Traffic fine enablers

    Put infrastructure in place to check traffic rules violation and make them ubiquitous. One example would be cameras at junctions to check blocking of free left. If getting a challan is almost certain, people will start to behave.

This list can be expanded easily. The idea is identifying the most cost effective infrastructure and implementing it.
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Old 10th April 2015, 11:33   #50
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Why not utilize the masses? I have a thought how, see below:

Suppose the traffic police selects some volunteers (selected from general public) and gives them dash cameras (with GPS as well) and ability to share their footage with the some traffic police control zones. These volunteers can keep track of any law breaking scenarios and submit the appropriate footage to these police collection zones where it is exchanged for a new SD card. That way police can have the proof of the violators and can proceed with the appropriate actions.

Now, what's in it for the volunteers? For starters, they can get some exemption on the petrol (like how Ahmedabad police was giving 1L petrol free of cost) and we can even implement a point based system for further incentives.

These volunteers would be using their own cars and this inconspicuous nature would keep a looming fear on other people who would not be able to differentiate this guy from any other guy driving a car. Currently, speeding cars can spot the police interceptors from a fair distance away and accordingly lower their speed for next 300-400 meters, post which they again speed away.

This approach coupled with hefty fines, point based license system and a stricter license procurement methods could work if implemented correctly.

What do you guys think? I'm not sure if anyone already proposed a similar idea on this thread, didn't read all the posts.
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Old 10th April 2015, 12:11   #51
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Mod Note : There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the forum experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 13th April 2015 at 14:49.
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Old 10th April 2015, 18:11   #52
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

I would like to cite a few instances which I face in my daily commute in our City of Joy, Kolkata:

1) First a question - How many of us have the patience to drive behind a manually pulled rickshaw for 500-600 metres? Why I ask this question? The narrowest of "important and without alternatives" roads are becoming so congested day after day that overtaking is such roads needs some skill. Whom to blame? The Rickshaw puller? The office-goers in their bicycles? Or people like myself, who are taking their car to office?

The roads, every now and then they are "excavated" and even patch-work after so called "Digging into History" takes a year to get done.

a)The Ambassador Taxi (yellow ones) drivers knows that they have most rigid body of all the cars in the city. And also, bumpers of iron (aftermarket). How can a modern car with plastic bumpers stand against them. So, they define and control the lanes.

Once my wife was in a Auto-Rickshaw, when the auto driver stood at the middle of the road to pick-up passengers. When a Swift honked from behind he laughed and told:

"Plastic bumper nie besi chechas na" (Don't shout with mere plastic bumpers)

b) The FORCE : No, its not any movie running in any theaters. Its a road-show. They are the most skilled drivers, maybe potential F1 Drivers turned Force driver by misfortune. So, they have carved out a beautiful idea:
Transferring peoples (14 at a time, better I not highlight the potential risks, nevertheless, who am I?) to a destination, with no fuel cost to bear by them and no it's not their car as well. And at the same time, they show off all their skills with their right hand on the window all the time.
Such is the menace that whenever my wife sees a FORCE from my car, she says "Dekho, FORCE!" (Beware, FORCE is coming.)

3) The BUS drivers: They have the authority to stop anywhere, practically anywhere. I have seen them even stop at the rightmost lane to drop-off or pickup passengers. Never ever they stop at the BUS STOP, but calls out for passengers stopping at the middle of the road. It's a disorder (may be psychological) that they can't stand anyone overtaking them. And I don't know why they always turn their wheels to the right every time they start rolling, even if they are stopping in the middle lane and thereby causing panic among the other smaller vehicles who were passing them at that time. May be they think of the road as a good platform to play cat and mouse game, or they enjoy seeing the panic.

So, who should we blame?
  • The authority, as they go ahead without proper planning, or may be they properly plan their benefits only?
  • The Traffic Police Department constables, who just pushes their hand back and forth (as if calling the car) but turning blind eye to each every actions mentioned above?
  • The car insurance policy in India? where the third party coverage is applicable only in case of injury to mankind. So, why should I pay from my wallet while my car is damaged by a road maniac? And why we have a motor collision report system in Police department, which is just a placeholder.
  • Or myself, for trying to follow the rules and ending up typing a long message like this knowing nothing will change, ever, here.

Last edited by gearhead_mait : 10th April 2015 at 18:23.
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Old 11th April 2015, 20:53   #53
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

SST Sir, thank you for starting this thread. My apologies for a long post.

Decades ago, like many people even today, I learned driving from an older brother. He's a very good driver, but not a very good teacher. On my bike, I had a few minor accidents in a row. My father grounded me for 6 months. That was painful. In those days, driving schools were practically worthless; mostly run by touts whose main function was to somehow get the licence for the student (you know what I mean). What was I to do?

There was a gem of a book at home, the Reader's Digest AA Book of the Car. The first half of it was devoted to car tech, and the other half to safe, defensive driving. I had always been interested in the first half. Now I focused on the second half. After months of studying the same material, I became a much safer driver - no more accidents.

A decade later I went to California. It was here that I really understood good driving. The Dept. of Motor Vehicles has a student handbook available for free. If one wishes to obtain a driving licence there, one better know this book really well. It describes the MV Act in layman's language and its practical application with illustrations. It opens with this classic line: "A driver's licence is a privilege, not a right".

In over two decades of driving there, I was in two accidents, both deemed to be the fault of the other driver.

Leaving aside driving skills and attitude in India, which you have ably highlighted in several posts (and which, unfortunately, I totally concur with) what additionally differentiates India and the US is the road and traffic engineering that happens there. If I violate the MV law there, it would be totally, completely my fault.

I haven't driven in North India, Kerala, and the former AP, so I can only speak about Chennai and Bangalore.

US: The law is very clear and precise and covers every scenario
Here: I believe there is a certain amount of vagueness in the law. I confess I haven't read through the legalese, but my understanding is that it is not as rigorous and specific as in the US

US: Stop lines are always there and never faded
Here: 50% of the time not there, or faded away

US: Multiple signal lights are provided for each direction (one for each lane); there is no way you can miss them
Here: One signal at the extreme left, placed 40 feet high amidst branches. You stop because others are stopped in front of you, not because you can see it

US: Signal goes from green to amber and stays on amber for x seconds; x determined by the speed limit on that road. You have enough time to sail through the intersection before the light turns red or stop safely before the stop line, depending on your speed (at or below the limit of course) and your distance to the signal when it goes from green to amber. If you jump a red, it's 100% your fault. Rarely, the timing is off, and if you contest it, a traffic engineer will come out with a stop watch to time it, and if found faulty, it will be fixed and your ticket will be annulled. Accidents are infrequent because a vehicle in the intersection has right of way even on red and even if other directions have green. Even when one has a green, one cannot enter the intersection unless it is clear.
Here: Green turns to red in 1 or 2 seconds. When I enter the intersection, I do so on a green. Suddenly, I am breaking a red. This has happened to me multiple times, and I was caught in Chennai a few times - "we have photo proof - pay up".

US: Pedestrian crossings are provided at reasonable intervals; prominently marked
Here: Bangalore civic authorities are twiddling their thumbs though pedestrians are killed every week at busy intersections because of the absence of police and skywalks. Traffic just sails through.

US: Dedicated turn lanes are provided in all newer areas (very old areas don't have them). Since the turn lane is spawned from the innermost lane, you continue in your lane if going straight and get into the turn lane only if turning.
Here: Your innermost straight lane suddenly becomes a turn lane at an intersection. To avoid getting stuck, you have to swerve from the center lane to the left and then swing back after the intersection.

US: When there are two turn lanes, it is the law that u-turns have to be made from the innermost turn lane. Nobody is suicidal enough to do that from the outer turn lane!
Here: All u-turns are made from the leftmost lane. Once in Chennai I turned on my signal 10 seconds early then made a u-turn at a place without a signal (divider ended). A two-wheeler coming behind at very high speed (~ 60 - 70 km on a small city-road with mother riding pillion) crashed into my right rear door. Fortunately nobody was hurt. Though we all went our separate ways, I was blamed for making a u-turn from the innermost lane. "Who does that - you are mad. You should have moved to the extreme left and then started your turn. Others would have known what you were going to do". I could see the logic, but didn't agree with it. In the land of the insane, being mad is normal, and the normal person is mad.

The point I am making here is that the proposed MV Act is well and good, but it is putting the cart before the horse. Let them sort out their infra problems a sample of which I listed above. Unless that is formalized and implemented India wide, with road & traffic engineers and cops being knowledgeable and efficient in their jobs, penalizing drivers would be insufficient. Once the infra is set, it will become that much harder for drivers to argue that the signal light didn't work or the stop line wasn't there.

At the same time, let them make the licence testing process rigorous so that only truly qualified people are on the roads. This should include a retesting process for currently licenced drivers as well.

Merely imposing stiff fines on badly trained drivers and making ignorant government staff enforce these will not magically reduce deaths and make India safer.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 11th April 2015, 22:35   #54
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Originally Posted by TheTeacher View Post
...I became a much safer driver...
Merely imposing stiff fines on badly trained drivers and making ignorant government staff enforce these will not... make India safer.
Thank you for the detailed comparison of the traffic and road engineering scenario between the US and India.

I have marked the key word in bold in your post, which is the most significant point of the debate. Being conscious about safety is not a way of life in this country, whether it be playing with firecrackers or driving an automobile.

At least 3 separate agencies control the conditions under which Indian vehicles and drivers operate:

1. The Traffic Police: It's their job to enforce rules and impose fines. The regular police who are in charge of crime-fighting have nothing to do with this in most big cities.

2. The Transport Department of the state (aka the RTO in common parlance): In charge of training and testing drivers and issuing licences. Also in charge of commercial vehicle operation, state permits, registrations, pollution control certificates, etc.

3. The Public Works Department: In charge of maintaining roads, painting lanes, erecting signage and operating traffic lights. Are not empowered to control traffic, and are supposed to carry out road works based on advice from the traffic police - whom they don't always agree or see eye to eye with.

This is just for the cities. For the highways there is also the NHAI, and private operators who BOT (build-operate-transfer) some of the sections. Add to that other agencies like the fire brigade and ambulance people, who are part of the emergency response team and need to be separately notified by the traffic police before they will take action (if any), and it is indeed a miracle that traffic in India moves at all, and accident victims live to drive another day.

That is perhaps another of the reasons why we drive so badly after all. It's not a single agency that concentrates on traffic issues, and the resultant confusion makes us say to-hell-with-it when it comes our turn to obey the rules and laws.
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Old 11th April 2015, 23:03   #55
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Many thanks for bringing up this topic, need of the hour.

Unfortunately in India, our driving style is decided by less literate two wheeler riders, cab and auto rickshaw drivers wherein we do not have any say on the roads.

Do not believe in imposing fines alone as it is just going to fill someone's pocket. Also not in favour of implementing technology to bring in the fear factor. Would be a sheer waste of money as RFID tags or other chips can be tampered with like auto meters in India. Further implementation is a tough task and would take years like Aadhar.

There is a limit for everything and every major Indian city has gone beyond its limit on traffic violation and throwing road safety to winds. Sooner there is going to be a public activism as there is anger among every law abiding driver.

The change what we expect cannot happen immediately. We have to lay the foundation for training next generation on road safety and importance of adhering to traffic rules. We need to wait at least for next 10 years to see the change if we start now.

Last but not the least, should not get demotivated with the current situation as there is going to be light at the end of tunnel. We should continue to adhere to the rules even we are mocked by the majority - 80%
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Old 12th April 2015, 10:42   #56
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

My post might seem to be irrelevant to the traffic issue but I assume it would be better ponder over a more fundamental , necessary grass root issue; the Societal/Social apathy, a much larger and dangerous problem, that has entrenched itself in our pseudo-educated Society.

The most important lesson that we have to learn is to learn the Social responsibility ; it has to be imbued into the children as well as into adults. The Civic sense , as studied in the text books should be not seen as a 2 marker/ 5 marker questions but as laws of life . I wonder how many of us have considered the study of Social Studies as sincerely as the Physics/Maths/Chemistry. It is just assumed that the former subject is just to get marks but the latter group is to earn money , ergo all importance to the latter. This is just pathetic attitude where many fail to understand its humongous repercussions.

Most of the readers might not relate the study of the Social studies with the careless attitude of the public, but remember , our first contact with the rules and regulations of the society come-up during our school days through this subject which is , more often than not, considered as a 'waste of time' by our renowned School system and no wonder, our present and future citizens have utmost disregard for the laws of their land and the subject that teaches the laws .. [ I hope you sense a connection]

Our country is suffering from a dearth of responsible citizens but our education system is busy producing eminent mathematicians/physicists/scientists/engineers and has wonderfully failed to imbibe any little sense of Social awareness. We have to remember that when citizens aren't equipped with the basics of maths or physics, it would not lead to a disaster, but not equipped with the understanding of their society would result in crisis at different scales ; social turmoils, political instability, corrupt institutions, Communal violence, dysfunctional public services [ traffic problem is one of them] .

And unsurprisingly, India suffers from all.

While the Software Techies/Docs/Engineers/Managers might phenomenally add face value to the Society, it must be remembered that all those groups without any Societal Responsibility end up being a burden on their societies and countries.

We castigate caste but want our children to marry within our caste , we censure corruption but pay that extra 500/- for a water/electricity connection, we want our children to follow the society but stand-up among the society; We shall not change but long for a change... I guess we are one of the most hypocritical groups of the world.

Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post

1. Bangalore City Traffic Police - has less than 3,000 personnel to look after nearly 50 lakh vehicles that ply in the city.
2. Delhi Traffic Police - has nearly 5,500 personnel to control over 75 lakh vehicles in Delhi, plus an uncountable number entering the city daily from the NCR.
3. Mumbai Traffic Police - number around 3,000, with the vehicle population being around 25 lakhs.

This ratio obviously needs to change for traffic police presence & enforcement to be more effective; the number of personnel has to go up sharply if wielding the stick is the only way that compliance with traffic rules can be achieved.
Just to add in ...
The foundation of the Traffic Control and Law enforcement in India rests on the Home guards deployed by the traffic police and the present pay of Home guards is around 12000/- pm which is abominably low for such a heavy workload. These guys need to work along with the Sun, under the Sun and at times , after the Sunset too , in the rain when the traffic is at its nightmarish worst. And with almost every driver [ who is either impatient or negligent] trying to flout the traffic rules at every possible place and with the limited human resources, the police seem to do a great job..

Last edited by poised2drive : 12th April 2015 at 10:50.
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Old 13th April 2015, 17:45   #57
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

my 2 cents
Just like we have a territorial army, why can't a traffic police force be maintained like this. A good number of people can be asked to apply, some kind of written exam / interview qualifies them to join the force, where in during their daily commute, if they find any traffic rule violation, it can be photographed and sent to police department to issue a challan. In return, they can be given incentive, points, or some form of recognition through a mere picture in the newspaper which will motivate them enough.
I am sure most of us "the educated class" would take it up.
Why should we always be dependent on the police to come, find and challan the culprit.

Another important aspect, why can't we issue fines to Pedestrians. Daily basis we encounter hundred of idiots running on the road, crossing dangerously and NOT using the foot over bridge even if it is available. The ability to make some space by them on the road divider also attracts the two wheelers to cross it without looking at the ongoing or incoming traffic.

Nothing works in India except fear. A small black cat is good enough to stop the people on road than a super big Red Signal. People should fear for their life and their loved ones so to drive safely under limits. Road sense from school is an excellent idea. It should be accompanied by students visits to hospitals wherein they can see the victims or scrap yards to look at the condition of cars after severe accidents. Hope this can scare the upcoming generation of the ills of not following traffic rules and they end up being more sane than the others.
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Old 14th April 2015, 23:42   #58
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

I have a model that will work. I am penning this, ignoring political / goon influence in decisions.

Increase fines to something like 3000/- for jumping a red light / driving on the wrong side etc.
Announce to Traffic police that 50% of whatever fine amount collected, would be credited to thier bank accounts., no questions asked.
Log all official traffic offences in a database and ask insurance companies to charge more premium to those offenders. Since 90% people do not follow traffic rules, it would be a platter for insurance companies.

Chain Reaction:
3000/- as of today's standard would pinch anybody even if he is a call taxi driver or the average IT Joe.
Police would NOT settle for 100s, 200s etc as bribe, since they know that 1500/- out of the 3000/- is for them.
Bribes, if at all would be 1500/- and above, which itself is a high amount and in the long run act as deterrent.
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Old 16th April 2015, 09:51   #59
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Default Re: Public activism

Originally Posted by sarathlal View Post
Is this the video you were referring to?
That was awesome. We need more public intervention like these, but in a safe way. Indian drivers mostly will be more aggressive.

Mod Note : Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post and avoid quoting images / videos in your reply.

Quoting a full, long post with images / videos inconveniences our mobile readers. Thanks!

Last edited by Aditya : 17th April 2015 at 12:27. Reason: Deleting video from quote
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Old 16th April 2015, 12:44   #60
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Default Re: Following traffic rules: What action will encourage / induce / force people to do it?

Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
I have a model that will work. I am penning this, ignoring political / goon influence in decisions.

Increase fines to something like 3000/- for jumping a red light / driving on the wrong side etc.
Announce to Traffic police that 50% of whatever fine amount collected, would be credited to thier bank accounts., no questions asked.
Log all official traffic offences in a database and ask insurance companies to charge more premium to those offenders. Since 90% people do not follow traffic rules, it would be a platter for insurance companies.
While I agree with your line of thought, its implementation will require major infra upgrade. Policemen will have to be made accountable (e.g. counter checking of violation claim with CCTV footage). Knowing the pits to which these guys can fall to fill their pockets, they will start catching people for imaginary violations.

I had quite a few awful experiences even at current penalty / bribe levels. Particularly remember one incident - I was crossing green signal somewhere in Dharavi. After covering 3/4th of signal gap, I was suddenly caught in a swamp of pedestrians (guess Bombay guys can relate to the situation). And meanwhile, the light turned amber and then red. I was kind of forced to move to other side. And it was reason enough to be caught by traffic police guy (who happened to be a mute spectator of the whole incident so far). I'm sure with higher stakes (30x of current penalty level), these people will start laying traps for motorists
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