New traffic rules and regulations
From sweets to fines
From sweets at Churachandpur to Rs 1000 fine all over the country. That is how the story of driving without helmets has progressed in the last few days. If the SP of Churachandpur police made it to the news for launching a novel approach to rein in two wheeler drivers without helmet by distributing sweets to them, the Centre has obviously struck a tougher pose and amended 63 clauses of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act imposing heavy fines and stricter penalties on those who violate traffic rules and regulations with impunity. So from sweets to a fine of Rs 1000 for driving without helmets and the other penalties include Rs 10,000 fine for drunken driving. Other penalties have also been imposed such as incarceration in prison for a certain period, suspension of driving license, penalty for driving without using the safety belts, fine for violating general traffic rules, penalty for violating traffic signals, penalty for overtaking from the left and many more. A clear indication that many of those who take the wheel conveniently forget to take their brains with them when they go outside ! Central to the hefty fines is the need to stick to basic traffic rules and regulations and this is where the new traffic rules and regulations and stiff penalties should become significant. A drive through the roads of Imphal on any given day, will more than explain why stiffer penalties are needed for while sweets may have worked at Churachandpur for some time, it is obvious it is not going to work in other parts of the country, especially in a place like Imphal where selfishness is the unwritten law on the road !
A law is as good as its implementation and how effective the strict penalties will be, will depend to a large extent on how effectively it is implemented here. This is where the sincerity and honesty of those manning traffic become important. Traffic violators should be made to pay the fines as envisaged in the rule book and not line the pocket of those enforcing the traffic rules and regulations. A check should be a check on whether the vehicle on the road has the required documents and whether the one at the wheel is licensed to drive or not and not to line their own pockets. This fundamental fact should not blow over the heads of the people. Much of the chaos that one sees on the road of Imphal have more to do with the motorists refusing to abide by traffic rules and regulations and not the number of vehicles on the road. To many, the red light at a traffic point is not to stop but to see how one can squeeze through. To many more the signal to stop means crossing the zebra crossing and covering half the road so that vehicles coming from the other side are not given enough space to proceed faster. To many more, driving here means only to start the vehicle, press the clutch, put the forward gear and then release the same to move forward. Driving is much more than simply putting a vehicle into motion but to ensure that others on the road are not endangered. Those who refuse to learn this basic point have no business to drive and those who do drive despite this mentality should be penalised heavily and the new rules and regulations seek to do that.