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Old 26th March 2023, 21:13   #1
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Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Today's Times of India report paints a sad picture of the aftereffects, post the massive traffic offence fine hikes effected from September 2019. The report displays statistics reflecting the fatality figures, comparing it with 2016-19 when 12,500 deaths were reported. Correspondingly between 2019-21 a total of 12,138 deaths were reported. The lock down year 2020 has though been mentioned, when the crude oil import bill and accidents were quite lesser. E-challans yielded Rs 7,870 crores between September 2019 to February 2023 to the respective state /UT exchequer that the report says is 450% higher than that realised during the previous corresponding years.

The TOI report dwells upon the sadistic attitude of our traffic authorities, who are not well behaved, extract fines and feel that their jobs are done. Fines multiply, add to the govt coffers and violation and injury/death figures also rise . Driver behaviour needs improvement. It says that scientific enforcement with proper education and corrective measures for offenders need to be taken as is done in many developed countries.

Discussing the TOI report, common sense says that apart from the amount officially realised as fines by traffic authorities, an unknown amount that could be much, much higher than the Rs 7,870 crores collected, could have ended up as black money in the way of bribes to waive off penalties. If the official fine is Rs 5000/- for an offence, bribing anything between Rs 500 to 1 K make both the offender and enforcer happy and hence the magnitude of such illegal transactions are not known nor reported.

And as regards accidents, deaths and injuries we have people travelling by the dozens in MUV taxis, a dozen or more on a three wheeler, scores on a tractor trailer, three or four on a two wheeler and so on. Coming to heavy commercial vehicles, trucks are as a rule overloaded by upto 1.5 to 2 times or more of their official capacities. Buses are dangerously overloaded. More than 80% cars on our roads have the coveted ZERO STAR NCAP rating.

I remember a joke about an overloaded Ambassador taxi being challaned in Bihar. It was carrying 28 passengers. When produced before a judge, the driver was asked:

Judge to driver : I am curious to know how you could fit all the 28 passengers into your car.

Errant taxi driver: Your Honour, you can please come with me outside. I can also fit you as the 29th passenger.

-With such a backdrop, where do we apply scientific methods for traffic management?

-When, how and where do we undertake driver education?

-How do we conduct strategic enforcement going by what the TOI news report quoted experts suggest?


-How do we improve driver behaviour as the report also suggests?

The only pittance or microcosm of knowledge added to our brain's reservoir about traffic laws is when we prepare for our driving licence tests. Thereafter, the licences get automatically renewed every five years. After many 5+5+5+.... years, the pittance or microcosm of traffic law knowledge gets deleted or else the file becomes corrupt in our brain, over the years for a majority of us.

It's sad that pragmatism and realities at the ground levels are ignored and we talk about some western concepts that cannot be copied and pasted to get applied here. Boardroom ideas need to be shunned and other root level causative factors should be identified. It needs constant, level headed thinking.

Quote:

The fines for violation of traffic and transport rules were increased manifold after the amended provisions of the Central Motor Vehicle Act came into force from September 2019. The data provided by the road transport ministry to the Lok Sabha shows that the revenue collected for such offences through e-challans rose to Rs 7,870 crore between September 2019 and February 2023.

However, analysis of the road death data shows that the average fatalities per month during 2019-21 was 12,138 compared to 12,500 deaths during 2016-19. The government is yet to publish the road accident data of 2022.

The purpose of traffic enforcement is to improve driver behaviour. In the developed world, police understand the law and consequently the causes and consequences of road traffic violations. They conduct strategic enforcement where they ensure that as enforcement of such violations is conducted, driver behaviour is also improved and deaths and injuries are reduced. In India, police are unaware of the law and also of the causes of violations. They have a sadistic outlook to book drivers and collect fines. Fines go up and so do violations, accidents, deaths and serious injuries," said road safety expert Rohit Baluja.
The link :

https://m.timesofindia.com/india/ste...w/99000641.cms

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 26th March 2023 at 21:31.
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Old 26th March 2023, 21:28   #2
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Re: Steep traffic fines since September 2019 no deterrent for the errants!

Obviously our traffic discipline is rubbish and needs to improve drastically. On top of that I feel like our driving has gotten worse by a fair margin post Covid, probably because :
- More vehicles on the road in total, some with inexperienced drivers
- More new drivers
- More delivery services whose operators are always in a hurry
- Finding parking has become extremely difficult due to increase in vehicles so more people circling in frustration to find parking.
- Fuel has become expensive which makes an average person drive faster and more aggressively which is counterintuitive I know but most drivers calculate their fuel economy in driving time rather than throttle control due to time stuck in traffic and finding parking.

Also let's be honest, the main reason is because our cops are corrupt and lazy. They are more interested in targeting the easy offences and not bothered about enforcement of all traffic offences.
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Old 26th March 2023, 21:40   #3
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re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

With ever increasing roads, drivers as well as number or cars and bikes, it is obvious that the number of accidents will increase. Fines have nothing to do with it. They can double it, and double it again if the want to. Everyone knows that the real agenda behind these fines is to generate revenue. Official as well as unofficial. Discipline on roads can only improve if the system of handing out licenses is fixed.
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Old 26th March 2023, 22:30   #4
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re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Contrary to popular believe, fines and punishment (I.e. jail time) are very ineffective deterrents. Whether it is speeding, shop lifting, stealing or murder.

The chance of being caught is one of the main parameters here. Here in the Netherlands we have quite a few average speed check on motorways. If you speed there is a 100% certainty you will receive a fine. There is no escape. Consequently nobody speeds on those sections of the motorway. And everybody knows where it starts and ends. As soon as you pass the last camera, itís pedal to the metal again. Because the chances of getting caught by a cop car or mobile radargun are slim.

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Old 26th March 2023, 23:43   #5
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re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

My experience in Delhi has been neutral to positive. Due to the speed cams introduced in 2020, there was a very noticeable drop in over speeding during the initial days. But it fizzled out once most people got accustomed to the location of the cameras.

On the other hand, a large part of the Bullet loud exhaust mess seems to have been addressed through aggressive challans. The cops started penalising riders around 2 years back and most folks are now seen with a stock silencer. The fines were as big as ten thousand rupees and it really took the wind out of bikers creating nuisance with irritatingly noisy exhausts.

So if enforced adequately and appropriately, the traffic fines do help and have a sobering effect (pun intended) on the roads.

No doubt it has to be supplemented with better driving license evaluations and driving literacy. But practically this is a cultural change and will take decades. In the meanwhile, harsh penalties serve as a good short term measure and reminder to everyone if enforced properly.

Last edited by warrioraks : 26th March 2023 at 23:44.
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Old 27th March 2023, 00:22   #6
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re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Chor kaun hai? Jo pakda gaya (Who is a thief? One that was caught)

On our own forum, we have instances of people paying off cops/aggrieved party so as not to face the 'legal' consequences.

Two other things: First: Corruption need a 'coruptee'/corrupter; and the second is: No danda? No fear. The latter also can be transliterated as 'Mere baap ka raaj hai'.

We can bleat about this as much as we want.

I am moving on. Live and let die.
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Old 27th March 2023, 18:04   #7
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re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

I guess its time to revisit the discussion on this thread

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...-approved.html (New Motor Vehicles Act: Stricter penalties- Now Cabinet-Approved!)

As expected, its business as usual at almost all places in the country except perhaps one, ie Chandigarh. Its wonderful to see big macho looking guys in big blaring cars or bikes or trucks and busses from Mohali or Panchkula turn sissies at the sight of Chandigarh Traffic Police. They do turn back onto their monstrous ways when they head back into their respective satellite towns, it only indicates one thing, 'enforcement'.

But then Chandigarh is a small planned city, run by few officials without much interference from politicians at local governance levels. But across the country, IMHO, the sheer load of traffic has almost completely overwhelmed our traffic enforcement system. Majority of personnel attached to traffic wings of the Police force are not the best performing kinds. Further, just think about standing on the road for 8-10 hrs dealing with aggressive drivers of all kinds in hot, dusty, incredibly polluted and noisy area for endless days at a stretch, its quite an impossibility.

Another thing that I have observed, at least here up in the North is that majority of times the constabulary is positioned not to stop the traffic violations but to keep the traffic moving at all costs, so lot of shortcuts and sidecuts are condoned or overlooked.

Lastly, my assessment after going through it all is that anytime anyone is stopped for a traffic violation, it is to meet up with the quotas, maybe personal or official, otherwise its kind of free for all.
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Old 28th March 2023, 11:55   #8
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Anecdotal, but based on what I see in Bombay, stiff fines & harsh penalties have greatly helped in increasing road discipline:

- 2000 rupee speeding fines have resulted in 99% of cars driving at 80 / 100 kmph on the Bandra Worli Sealink & Mumbai-Pune expressway (respectively). The same speeding fine is also why you will see cars crawling @ 30 kmph on the JJ Flyover.

- Jail penalty for drunk drivers means no one really has the guts to drive after alcohol anymore. I would say that a majority of car owners now take the Uber home, or have a designated driver in the group - thread link (Drink and drive? Go straight to JAIL!).

- When strictly enforced, the Traffic CCTV cameras led to everyone respecting zebra crossings - thread link (Mumbai Police's eChallans System for Traffic Violations. EDIT: Now Maharashtra-wide).
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Old 28th March 2023, 12:54   #9
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Possibly a post worthy of brickbats in an auto forum, but here goes nothing...

- In a country with legal speed limit not exceeding 140 kmph tops AFAIK, why permit automobiles that can do in excess of 180 kmph, or sub 10 second 0-100? 40 kmph is sufficient headroom for any arguments on emergency maneuvers.
- Why not mandate cruise control on all vehicles, thus relaxing the effort to stick to speed limits, from a driver's point of view?

You can only raise penalties and punishments so much, but if you really want to make it safer for EVERYONE on the road, one must limit Technology - especially the ones that only the few can access.
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Old 28th March 2023, 14:04   #10
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
In a country with legal speed limit not exceeding 140 kmph tops AFAIK, why permit automobiles that can do in excess of 180 kmph, or sub 10 second 0-100? 40 kmph is sufficient headroom for any arguments on emergency maneuvers.
You can only raise penalties and punishments so much, but if you really want to make it safer for EVERYONE on the road, one must limit Technology - especially the ones that only the few can access.
Discussed to death in this thread.
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/road-...-all-cars.html (Should we have an ECU-enforced 120 kmph speed limit on all cars?)

Though I really am amused how a sub second 0-100 is dangerous. In many countries with proper highway systems, a vehicle that takes more than 15 secs to reach 100km/h is termed borderline dangerous for highway merging, while 0-100 timing below 10 secs maybe called as effortless merging onto highway traffic.
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Old 28th March 2023, 14:20   #11
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Discussed to death in this thread.
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/road-...-all-cars.html (Should we have an ECU-enforced 120 kmph speed limit on all cars?)

Though I really am amused how a sub second 0-100 is dangerous. In many countries with proper highway systems, a vehicle that takes more than 15 secs to reach 100km/h is termed borderline dangerous for highway merging, while 0-100 timing below 10 secs maybe called as effortless merging onto highway traffic.
1. 120 is low, doesn't leave enough headroom for sudden maneuvers wrt existing speed limits. If the limits were max 80 ,then maybe 120 would make sense. Point is, you always need to leave sufficient headroom.
2. From what I have observed over the years, not everyone who can drive an automobile necessarily has the skill & comprehension required to handle quick acceleration and handle high speed emergent situations. Yes, very low acceleration is problematic on the other end of the spectrum, so from a policy point of view, constraining both ends would probably yield safer outcomes.
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Old 29th March 2023, 09:34   #12
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
Discussing the TOI report, common sense says that apart from the amount officially realised as fines by traffic authorities, an unknown amount that could be much, much higher than the Rs 7,870 crores collected, could have ended up as black money in the way of bribes to waive off penalties. If the official fine is Rs 5000/- for an offence, bribing anything between Rs 500 to 1 K make both the offender and enforcer happy and hence the magnitude of such illegal transactions are not known nor reported.
The increase in traffic fines, rather than acting as deterrents, seems like only adding revenue to government coffers and warming the pockets of enforcers to amounts they fancy.
On some level, it does feel that this was done purposely to account for the inflation that has been been constantly adding to price of commodities.
A poor traffic constable standing strategically after a red light to catch rule breakers was getting the same Rs 100 / incident for nearly a decade (say 2010 - 2019). Post the new rules, there has been a 5X increase in revenue for these "poor" guys and ~4.5X revenue for the government as per the article quoted. The number of incidents are only bound to increase owing to increased volumes of cars and new drivers coming into the foray. In short a win-win completely for the guv and enforcers with only the mango janta getting crushed under their ambitious motives. Never in my nearly 15 years of driving have I seen an overloaded bus being stopped for any sort of rule breaking, a white innova / fortuner being stopped for tinted glasses, jumping red lights or air horning the crap out of others on the road not yielding and so on.
But you will always see a poor bloke in an entry level hatchback begging for mercy to be on his way while the enforcer negotiates a fair rate (anywhere between 50% to 75% of the actual fine amount) to let go.
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Old 29th March 2023, 10:01   #13
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Completely illogical views expressed here. Fines are the only thing that can control the menace. The problem is that the fines are not high enough and not enforced in a widespread manner. No doubt, better education and stricter licensing would help. However, with the corrupt and uneducated system in place, does anyone think people would actually learn or care about the rules even if everyone is forced to sit in class for a few hours? Even in developed countries, where practically everyone knows and understands the traffic rules, it is only the heavy fines that prevent violations.

Have a fine of Rs 10k for all serious violations like wrong way driving, serious overspeeding, red light violation, not driving in lane etc. Enforce it city wide. I can guarantee that within a few months we would have a far more civilised traffic scenario. When a person is stopped for going the wrong way around a roundabout or in the opposite direction on a road regardless of any excuse, they will quickly learn to avoid it. Far more effective than it being mentioned in some class. Let the subsequent offense be charged double followed by jail time and confiscation of the vehicle and see the magic. The problem in fact is that the fines are not high enough and are not enforced enough.

Last edited by Lobogris : 29th March 2023 at 10:02.
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Old 29th March 2023, 10:11   #14
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

Changes like these require a generation or more to grow up in an environment where respect and also fear of breaking law is imbibed.

In any metric, India is a nation which is very much understaffed as far as law enforcement is concerned. It's not that Indians will not behave or are not capable of behaving in a responsible way because the same people, at least majority, when put in a more developed nation would follow each and every rule. The difference is the fear of getting caught. As long as humans believe they can get away with breaking certain rules, they may tend to do so, especially if they believe breaking such rule may not cause harm to others. Say breaking a signal at midnight, or going slightly above allowed speed or parking etc. In India due to understaffing, enforcement is very difficult.

The good thing is technology is slowly coming to the aid. The installation of cameras and speed guns etc are certainly having impact, though it is not big enough to be noticed at a broader level as the penetration is still low. And lastly, children, most of the times, learn from what they see rather than what we say. So if they see us over speeding on highways, it just reinforces their thinking over a period that over speeding is fine.

So the saying 'Be the change you want to see' applies very much here. I have seen many times that even when there is literally no traffic and there is a red signal, many commuters slow down a bit and see if someone else is going to stop or not. It just takes one person to stop and others follow suit.

Last edited by vamsi.kona : 29th March 2023 at 10:14.
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Old 29th March 2023, 11:27   #15
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Re: Steep traffic fines are no deterrent for errant drivers

To be honest, merely imposing fines cannot effectively reduce the number of accidents caused by reckless driving. Many adults and teenagers are willing to pay the fines for their offenses without changing their driving behavior. In India, it's common to hear people say that they will just pay the penalty if caught for running a red light or violating traffic rules.

Therefore, increasing the penalty and implementing jail time after a certain number of offenses could significantly reduce reckless driving. Additionally, it's crucial for the police to work efficiently and for companies like Zomato and Swiggy to introduce rules that suspend or fire delivery personnel who engage in reckless driving. Most of them ride their bikes recklessly. In my opinion, stricter rules and enforcement are necessary, and the police should be impartial and not misuse their power to evade punishment.

The law should apply to everyone equally. For instance, motorcycles without headlights or mirrors should not be allowed to operate until the rider replaces the missing parts. Similarly, trucks without rear stoplights should be detained until they fix the issue. The current practice of paying fines without addressing the root cause of reckless driving will only perpetuate the problem.
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