Delhi Traffic Police fine 3,900 on day 1 of amended Motor Vehicles Act
According to data, 3,900 penalties issued Sunday was much lower than daily average of the last few years; Delhi government yet to notify details on compounding challansUpdated: Sep 02, 2019, 07:16 IST
On Sunday when the amended Motor Vehicles Act came into force with heavier penalties for traffic offences, the Delhi Traffic Police prosecuted nearly 3,900 people.
Apart from the recognised offences, such as jumping red lights and riding two-wheelers without helmets, blocking emergency vehicles has been introduced as an offence, and the guardian of juveniles who are caught at the wheel will be fined and tried as a criminal offence.
All 3,900 fines, which were issued till 7pm on Sunday, were court challans senior traffic officials confirmed.
“We are still collating the data (of offences). A consolidated figure of violations will be available on Monday,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Narendra Singh Bundela.
The number of challans issued on Sunday is fewer than the daily average of challans issued by the traffic police over the last few years (see box).
Data also showed that during ‘special drives’ to nail dangerous offences such as drink driving or to control hooliganism during festival days, when deployment is increased on traffic heavy points, on an average 15,000 to 20,000 challans are issued in a period of five to six hours.
The first day of the implementation of the amended Act being a Sunday and the delay in notification by the Delhi government for compounding challans are said to be the possible reasons for low prosecutions, said a traffic official.
Senior traffic officials on the condition of anonymity said the department is waiting for a notification from the Delhi government clarifying the details of “compounding” challans, which are fines issued and cleared on the spot by the offender, instead of settling the payment in court. For offences such as red light jumping, riding without helmets and lane violations, fines are issued on-the-spot, while violations such as drink driving and speeding are taken to court.
Officials said that number of prosecutions are likely to increase after the notification.
Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot said that notification for compounding offences will be issued “soon”, after detailed consultations with all stakeholders. The police said that once there is clarity on the penalisation process, the deployment will be increased.
“Court challans are usually a hassle, especially for a small force such as the Delhi Traffic Police. For court challans a constable has to be present in court, and if the violator contests the prosecution, the number of visits to court increases,” said a senior traffic official.
On Sunday, in many of the usual spots where traffic police officials are deployed, were empty. However, despite this, many drivers were being extra cautious at traffic signals.
“I read it in the newspaper that the fines for traffic offences have increased. Earlier, even if you drive through a red light and were caught by a traffic cop you could pay ₹100 without a second thought. But you would have to think twice before spending ₹1000 for it now,” said Sushmita Sengupta, who was spotted at a traffic signal at RK Puram sector-12.
Some, however, complained that not enough awareness campaigns were conducted by the police and the government agencies.
“There should have been advertisements telling drivers of the new fines. Sometimes, you can carelessly commit offences but when you have the increased fine amounts in mind you will be more careful. The idea behind the new act should not be to penalise, but to educate people and reduce the number of offences that make the roads unsafe,” said Pranab Shastri from Vasant Kunj.