Rs 32,000 challan shocker for auto-rickshaw driver for jumping light, not having papers
On the day a two-wheeler rider was fined Rs 23,000 for not wearing a helmet and travelling without relevant papers, the Gurugram traffic police also issued a challan of Rs 32,500 to an auto-rickshaw driver on Tuesday after the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act , which steeply raised penalties for traffic violations, came into force two days ago.
Mohammed Mustakil, the auto-rickshaw driver, was stopped by a traffic police officer when he allegedly jumped a red light in Sikanderpur, Sector 26, on Tuesday. When the official asked him to show his documents, he said he realised that he had left them at home in DLF Phase-3.
“I begged the traffic police official to give me 10 minutes and return home to collect all the documents. But he did not listen to me. I did not know about the recent hike in the fines for violating the traffic rules,” Mustakil, who is a native of West Bengal, said. He has been living in the city for the past 15 years.
The 30-year-old auto-rickshaw driver’s vehicle was immediately impounded by the traffic police. According to his challan, he was fined for driving without a licence (Rs 5,000), registration certificate (Rs 5,000), third party insurance (Rs 2,000), air pollution certificate (Rs 10,000), security registration number plate (Rs 500), dangerous driving (Rs 5,000) and jumping a traffic light (Rs 5,000).
The same offences would have earlier set him back by only Rs 4,700 to Rs 6,700 as the fines before Sunday were Rs 500 for driving without licence, Rs 1,000 each (for not having third party insurance and registration certificate), Rs 1,000 each, and Rs 2,000 on subsequent offences, for dangerous driving and not having pollution certificate, and Rs 100 each for driving without security registration number plate and jumping red light.
“On Wednesday, I have to go to the district court at Rajiv Chowk. The officials said that I need a good lawyer to get my auto-rickshaw back. I have all the documents with me and I hope that the cost of the challan will be reduced,” Mustakil said.
In July, Parliament passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to tighten the traffic rules and regulations and impose stricter punishments for violation in a bid to improve road safety. The Act came into effect in Haryana on Sunday. According to the Gurugram traffic police, 818 challans were issued on the first day and 950 on Monday.
In a similar incident, Delhi resident Dinesh Madan, who was riding a scooter, was issued a challan of Rs 23,000 near a district court in Gurugram on Monday. According to the ticket issued by the traffic police (HT has a copy), he was charged for driving without a licence, registration certificate, third party insurance and helmet. The same offences would have earlier cost him Rs 2,600.
Madan could not be contacted despite several attempts to reach him.
The incident took place when Madan allegedly parked his scooter in front of the district court. He told news agency IANS that he was not carrying the documents and asked the traffic police official to let him go home and get them.
Madan further said that the official did not relent to his multiple requests and issued him the challan.
Traffic experts said that the increase in the penalties will eventually discourage commuters from violating traffic rules, going by the experience of countries that had implemented such strict rules.
“High fines on traffic violations will definitely reduce the total number of violations in the city. Besides the fear of law, motorists will keep in mind that traffic violation will leave a big hole in their wallets. This is how other countries such as Australia and New Zealand have been able to curb traffic violations. Provided enforcement remains strong in Gurugram, the city will also be able to reduce violations which are a common feature in the city,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, programme coordinator with Haryana Vision Zero (HVZ), a programme aimed at reducing road traffic fatalities.
Traffic officials said change is already visible. Rajesh, traffic inspector, highway, said, “People know about the hike in the fines through news and other outlets. Since the implementation of the Act, I have seen most of the people following traffic rules. The car and truck drivers are now wearing seat belts. They do not want to pay such high fines.”
Satish Kumar, traffic inspector, MG Road, said, “We have issued multiple challans worth thousands in the last two days. The maximum amount has been of about Rs 42,000.” He, however, refused to share the details of the offence or the violator.