A New Journey towards Safe Driving

The pollution check of my vehicle had long  been overdue but I was  taking it easy. Soon after the implementation of the amended Motor Vehicle Act 2019, as the messages of hefty penalties on traffic violators started flooding the social media, I sprang into action. Without further dilly-dallying, I drove my vehicle straight to the pollution check booth. Not surprisingly, there was a long queue. Like me, many had spurred into action because of the fear of heavy fines. Since September 1, renewal of vehicle insurance has witnessed a significant jump as many had been holding expired policies.

Indeed, we are casual about the rules unless forced to comply with. Persuasive measures don’t seem to cut ice with us. Perhaps we need heavy fines and the fear of law to deter us from traffic violations. There is a saying in Hindi “Laton ke bhoot baton se nahin mante”. (Those who do not understand the language of persuasion need fear of harsh punishments and penalties).

Our sab chalta hai attitude is abundantly evident on the roads as the traffic rules are broken with impunity. Aghast at our utter disregard for the traffic lights, Oprah Winfrey, the American talk show host icon on a visit to India a few years ago remarked, “Is the traffic light there just for your entertainment?” It is a fact that many of us care two hoots for the rules. No wonder, driving in our country, negotiating with the erratic drivers and chaotic traffic is a nightmare.

While we appreciate the disciplined and organized traffic in the developed countries, we show utter disregard for the traffic rules in our own country. Fines for traffic violations abroad are quite high in America and Australia even as per their income standards.  People strictly obey the traffic rules there as they know they will have to shell out hefty sum if they break the rules. Here in India we refuse to mend our ways.  Many are angry that they can’t afford to pay the fines as these are high.  I wonder why they must pay the penalty, it’s certainly not mandatory to break the traffic rules.

The provisions of the new Act may be harsh but needed to make us disciplined on the roads. Fines should be tough enough to bite but can curb traffic violations if the rules are implemented strictly, honestly and without any prejudice. The same rules should apply to everyone, not just the commoners but also the high and the mighty. Of course, it is quite likely that heavy penalties result into hefty bribes for the traffic police. But the violators cannot take a moral high ground when they break the traffic rules and then try to circumvent the system by offering bribes.  Definitely, we need transparent, corruption-free traffic enforcement. Technology in the form of CCTV can provide low cost effective solution so that cops don’t bully the common man.

Adherence to traffic rules is fundamental to road safety but is equally important that the roads are not potholed, are well maintained with proper signage and lights. Stray cattle on roads, a major traffic hazard needs to be tackled. Instead of focusing on these crucial issues, ironically the state governments are into a popularity contest trying to soften the provisions of the act.

Let the amended Motor Vehicle Act be a new journey towards safe driving. Hopefully it should help in bringing about the much needed behavioral change from casual, Sab chalta hai attitude to discipline on roads making our life easier and roads safer.

(Published in HT Chandigarh , Sunday Read on 12 September 2019)

15 Replies to “A New Journey towards Safe Driving”

  1. Rama,a very well written article.Unfortunately ,even this move has been politicised.Many states,including Maharashtra have not accepted it fully.

    1. Yes ma’am , that is the tragedy. The states should be focusing on improving the road infrastructure but in stead are into competitive populism- diluting the provisions of the Act.

      Thank you so much ma’am. Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me .

  2. Rama Ji, very well written. You have put feeling of many in so simple words. It is so true that we always appreciate discipline of other countries. Now with the new rules it is possible to improve traffic condition of our country.

    1. Thanks Rita. I feel good that I am echoing the sentiments of many of my friends.
      Yes Rita, the amended Act should help in making our roads safer and traffic less chaotic.
      Let’s hope ….

  3. Absolutely agree…unfortunately this time also the vote bank politics is under play….better sense should prevail n we should shun such politicians who would rather play with our lives than implement stringent laws

  4. Driving since 1978 with valid driving license but parameters for safe driving were unknown to me till my Canadian cousin briefed me with regard to canadian driving1) vulnerable group…oldpersons,children,cyclists are vulnerable and vehicle owners are to cross them from a safe distance and safe speed .2) never disobey the lane speed that is if you are in 60 km lane then you will not overtake the driver going at 60 km speed ,,you can change the lane.3)driver is to cross the light point or crossing at zero speed(speed below 20 is called zero speed indriving connotation.4) at crossing first preference is to pedestrians, children and cyclists.
    .vehicle commuters can be seen with patience to let pedestrians cross at crossing.5) just as profit is a reward for risk safe driving is a reward for patience.6) in my opinion mental conditioning of driver assume added significance along with driving skills.

    1. Exhaustive list of dos and don’ts for driving ! Wish drivers in India obey the traffic rules !!
      Life will be so much easier n roads safer .

  5. Adherence to new traffic rules will make Indian roads more safe for drivers and people who suffer injuries in road rages. Rama your write up beautifully portray the psychology or mind set of drivers on road. Let’s hope these changes made would be for the betterment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights