Rethink heftier fines, increase them gradually: Road safety body to Centre
Road safety experts have asked the Centre to “gradually increase” traffic fines alleging “false” and “entrapped” challaning by traffic police, days after heftier penalties on traffic violations came into effect under the amended motor vehicle act.
“The recent amendments in the motor vehicle act, which brought about a steep rise in fines for traffic violations, cannot be faulted, they must be commended,” president of International Road Federation (IRF) KK Kapila said.
“But care should be taken that the fines are imposed gradually on traffic violators in the sense that if the increased range is from Rs 100 to Rs 1000, the first year should be Rs 250, the second year should be Rs 500 and the third year should be Rs 1,000,” he said.
The global road safety body has also suggested to the ministry of road transport and highways to set up a corpus of fund from the fines collected which should be used only for road safety.
“Law enforcement must have an implied message that it is for the benefit of the person being regulated not for any other purpose. The new MV act needs public education. The fines collected from traffic violators should be exclusively used for road safety not for running the government. A separate ‘Road Safety Fund’ as directed by the Supreme Court should be set up from the funds collected from traffic violations,” Kapila added.
As many as 63 clauses of the newly-amended law pertaining to heftier penalties for traffic violations came into effect from September 1.
On the first day, 39,000 drivers in New Delhi were fined for various offences, including violations like triple riding, tampered number plates, and pressure horns.
Traffic police in Haryana and Odisha alone have issued over 4,400 challans and fined violators Rs 1.4 crore since the new penalties came into effect from Sunday under the amended Motor Vehicles Act, according to Union road transport and highways ministry data.
“For educating traffic violators and gradual fining, we suggest that the traffic police personal should carry self-inking rubber stamps in green, red and orange colour with road safety messages and warnings to be imprinted on challan copy,” said Arun Mohan, Supreme court lawyer and road safety activist.
Mohan suggested that riders without a helmet should get a stamped message on his challan talking the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists.
“… This fine is only to educate people and save lives and regulate behaviour. Statistics and surveys have shown that the risk is much more as the person for self and for other road users. If this form of challaning is done, coupled with a temporary reduction for one year, it will help improve road behaviour leading to greater safety,” Mohan added.
According to the ministry, 3,121 challans have been issued by the Uttar Pradesh transport department so far, 1,499 in Chandigarh and 1,400 challans issued in Jharkhand till September 4.