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Injecting Fear Of Law Among Traffic Violators

The state transport department seems to have taken the directives of the Supreme Court monitoring committee on road safety seriously. The department has asked motor vehicle inspectors to strictly enforce road safety rules. Each one has been asked to file reports of checking a hundred vehicles including cases of violations and discrepancies, such as red light jumping, drunk driving, over-speeding, speaking on mobile while driving, goods vehicles carrying passengers and excess carriage. With violations galore on the state roads it should not be difficult for the motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs) to achieve the targets, provided they are on the road and book offenders without any bias. Though targets were assigned to them a year back the department found that 40 out of its 95 motor vehicle inspectors/assistant motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs/AMVIs) had failed to achieve them. The underperformers have been told to work harder, even in night shifts and over the weekends and meet the targets. They could opt to work on any of the two weekly offs to make up for the targets.

The MVIs/AMVIs are upset over the directions to clear the backlog, but the department authorities insist the directive to them to work on one of the two weekly offs is aimed at ensuring that all officials perform equally. The authorities want to achieve two targets – one of implementing the orders of the Supreme Court panel and the other of ensuring that motorists adhere to regulations and that the vehicles on the roads are fit and their owners comply with the rules of road safety. As Goa records thousands of accidents every year in which more than 300 people die, it is necessary that fear of law is driven into motorists to prevent violations and loss of precious lives. Rather than complaining about driven ‘harshly’ to work for additional hours or days to meet targets, the MVIs/AMVIs should enthusiastically discharge their duty to help save lives by bringing discipline on the roads. The authorities need to ensure that the MVIs/AMVIs are provided with all necessary equipment and support to carry out their assignment. Those meeting the targets could be considered for compensatory leave and rewards.

A large number of tourist vehicles arrive in Goa over the weekends, not all of them having the legal documents or following rules of road safety. Most of the drivers of the tourist vehicles who violate traffic laws get away, there being hardly any presence of law enforcing officials during the weekends. Working on weekends could help the MVIs/AMVIs meet the targets by booking those violating the laws and send a message to all that offenders were being watched. Constant vigil on weekends will also help arrest the chaotic situations witnessed on state roads, especially the tourist spots. With the Supreme Court having made it mandatory for every vehicle owner to mandatorily have third party insurance, a rule that is evaded by many vehicle owners, the road transport officials could include this offence in their check list along with pollution under control certificate to achieve the target by carrying out vigorous checks. The decision to set targets to book the violators can be considered as a multi-pronged strategy as it would help detect more violations of road safety rules, make all the vehicle owners realize that there is no getting away from compliance with statutory requirements and add to the state economy by way of fines collected. With the targets set for each official, the scope for manipulations and corrupt activities will also be reduced.

Road Transport officials, being men in uniform, should be ready to work at all the time like all other officials in uniform. Most of the transport officials took it for granted that their duty was to issue licences, collect passenger and other taxes in their cosy offices. Checks on roads were few, leading to rise in violations. Most of the violations can be easily detected by scrutiny of the vehicle documents, though the violations of over-speeding could pose a challenge for the transport officials who are yet to get speed detectors. The speed detectors procured by the state have been placed at the disposal of the traffic police. The checks for traffic rule violations over the last one year have led to almost 20 per cent decline in road accidents and casualties. To curb traffic law violations, transport department and traffic police have to jointly or individually carry out vigorous checking round the clock to book errant motorists and help prevent accidents and resultant fatalities and injuries and traumas to victims.

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