If you do not wish to stand on the road for 10 minutes holding up a placard, we suggest you wear your helmet and buckle your seat belt, at least until January 15.
The state transport department and regional transport office (RTO), as part of their ongoing ‘road safety fortnight’ campaign, will ask motorists breaking rules on the eastern and western express highways to stand on the road holding up placards with road safety messages written on them.
Officials came up with the idea after deciding that time was the most precious commodity for harried Mumbaiites. So, they felt, getting them to spend 10 minutes standing on the road is bound to pinch. “In addition to fining them, we will ask motorists to get out of their vehicles and hold up placards for 10 minutes,” said a senior official from the RTO on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
‘Wear helmets’, ‘no speeding’, and ‘wear your seat belt’ are some of the messages on the placards. Those caught will be asked to hold them high for other motorists to see. “We don’t want to embarrass people, but they are not likely to forget such a punishment for a long time and we hope they will stop violating traffic rules after that,” a transport official explained, on condition of anonymity.
Sources said initially they had planned to get the offender to stop for 30 minutes, but changed their minds after anticipating opposition from motorists.
“We felt it would be unfair to those in a hurry to reach a hospital or an airport,” another transport official said.
Until now, RTO inspectors and traffic policemen have been catching motorists who break even the tiniest of rules like pillion riders not wearing a helmet, a damaged tail light or headlight, or number plates not visible due to the font size.