Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Intention ?

One of the unsung heroes on the chaotic roads of Bengaluru are the traffic policemen. They usually do as good a job as can be expected, at least for the extent of monetary motivations they have. They also are now part of a chicken and egg problem on maintaining road etiquette. The growing traffic results in traffic police not able to stop people who are violating rules, because that will result in a bigger traffic jam. And since the traffic police are not hauling people up, people tend to bend/break the rules more brazenly. This has to be bettered and looks like they have found some method.

What the traffic cops do now is to be more active during non peak hours and weekends, when they doing their job will not result in adding to traffic jams. While this is all good, the intention behind fining people for traffic violations seems to be lost. We have drivers licenses which have the scheme to allow for warnings to be marked. We don't necessarily have a centralized system to track this, but that isn't an absolute must at this point. If someone is found violating rules, take note of his number and if he has exceeded the max number of warnings, send notices to him to pay the fine. This is already been done for some cases (parking violations) and needs to be made the de-facto mode, in my opinion. Instead, what happens today is, stop people who haven't broken any rules, ask them for every possible document (which is good), point to silliest of things physically not right with the vehicle (not so good) and if nothing works, use the trump card, emission test report. Most law abiding people will have all the paper work except for this, coz lazy folks (me included) can't get a lifetime emission report and hence will most probably forget about it.

By fining a person who has all his papers right, but doesn't have emission report is not wrong. But when this same person sees blatant traffic violations happen day in and day out and see them going about it merrily, while he waits behind a pile of vehicles following lane discipline or stopping at red lights of giving right of way to pedestrians etc etc. it does dampen the spirit. Why doesn't the government think of outsourcing the traffic violation fining to a 3rd party who can hire enough number of people to do the job. Assuming governement makes Rs.300 per violation, I can see several stretches from my home to office where daily collections would be more than Rs.1L. This will fill the coffers and also put the fear of the traffic police in everybody. Once the coffers are filled, they won't have to fine Rs.600 for not having an emission test report, and leave such poor souls at peace.

p.s: The above is not a work of fiction, and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely intentional. :-)

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