‘Invisible’ cops track and fine errant drivers Rs 4 cr in one year on Mumbai-Pune Expressway
Police personnel dress up as civilians to catch drivers who are lane-cutting, speeding, and fine them when they stop to pay tollmumbai Updated: Nov 03, 2017 10:55 IST
The state highway police have found a unique way to deal with errant motorists on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and it has paid off. They have collected Rs4 crore in fines, penalising more than 2 lakh drivers in the past one year.
The force has resorted to ‘invisible policing’, where the personnel dress up as civilians and are deployed on the 94-km expressway to spot drivers, who do not follow the speed limit or indulge in lane-cutting.
Explaining the concept, officials of the highway safety patrol (HSP) said they have divided the expressway into six sectors and their ‘invisible’ teams are deployed in each sector. These personnel alert teams placed at toll nakas – Khalapur and Talegaon – about the errant drivers. The drivers are penalized when they stop to pay the toll.
“It is not possible to stop drivers on the expressway as at most places, the traffic speed is 80kmph, but the vehicles have to stop at the toll booths. So, we penalise them as soon as they exit the toll booth as it is easy to stop the vehicle then,” said an officer from highway safety patrol.
The police have a WhatsApp group that they use to communicate with each other, apart from old methods such as using walkie-talkies.
Besides being in civil clothes, the teams also use private and other government vehicles to avoid being spotted by drivers. There are six teams manning the six sectors and each team, comprising two constables, is called the spotter. The team at the toll plaza is the catchers.
One of the biggest problems on the expressway is heavy vehicles, which have to, as per rules, drive in the third lane, but they invariably use all three lanes, slowing down other vehicles. This is the third offence that is under the scanner apart from lane-cutting and rash driving, said the official.
Expressway has three lanes on each side. The first lane (the one adjacent to the divider) is for overtaking. The second lane is for light vehicles and the third is for buses and other heavy vehicles. However, most of the motorists do not follow rules. Drivers randomly enter unauthorised lanes and end up hitting other vehicles, causing accidents and leading to jams.
Superintendent of police (highway) Vijay Patil said they had started the invisible policing from October 2016 and it was yielding results in curbing driving offences, which many times lead to mishaps.