Licences of more than 100,000 drivers were seized between December 15 and March 1 for traffic violations in Delhi, where five people die in road accidents every day.
The traffic police say the special drive -- ordered by the Supreme Court -- has made the Capital’s road safer as violations have dropped by 30% in the last two months. Seized licences are suspended for at least three months. The drive is still on.
Licences of 42,854 drivers were suspended for jumping traffic lights. Around 32,000 were penalised for speeding and 25,998 for driving drunk.
With 1,500 vehicles added every day, Delhi has the highest number of vehicles for a city in India. As many as 1, 620 people were killed on its notoriously congested and unsafe roads last year.
Alarmed over rising fatalities across the country, the Supreme Court late last year asked states to suspend licences for speeding, drink driving or using phone while at the wheel. Every four minutes, one person is killed in a road accident in India.
“We implemented the court’s orders strictly. For all major offences, which could result in fatal consequences, the drivers were not only fined but their licences also seized,” said Muktesh Chander, special commissioner of police (traffic).
Drivers will have to go to court to get their licences back.
Traffic police data also show a drop in violations. In November, between 8,000 and 9,000 challans were issued every day, the number fell to 6,000 in February.
Chander said more than 40% of the seized licences were issued in neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and Bihar. Delhi had shared the offenders’ details with the states and asked them to also suspend the licences.
“A large chunk of the city’s traffic flows from the neighbouring states and unless we coordinate with traffic police of these states, we will not succeed in checking violations,” he said.
Seizing a licence is new for Delhi. The measure was suggested by police during a Supreme Court hearing, calling for stricter punishment for errant drivers.
To make the country’s roads safer, the Centre has proposed stringent penalties and steep fines in the road transport and safety bill for traffic offences including suspension of licence.
The road transport ministry has sought states’ feedback on proposals including a R3-lakh fine and not less than seven years in jail for causing the death of a child and a R1-lakh fine for driving an unregistered vehicle. The cabinet will have to clear the bill for it to be tabled in Parliament.