Instill Fear Among Reckless Drivers  

The state police has decided to seize driving licences of motorists involved in over-speeding, drunken driving, overloading goods carriages, carrying people in goods carriages and using mobile phone while driving. This should hopefully instill some fear in the minds of drivers an increasing number of whom are now indulging in those offences. These offences are also causes of accidents which have claimed as many as 140 lives already this year. On an average 300 people die annually on Goa’s roads. The police decision to seize the licences has been arrived at following directives of the Supreme Court panel on road safety. The licences seized would be forwarded to the transport department for their suspension for at least three months.
While the police will be able to seize the licences of drivers for driving under influence of liquor, overloading and using mobile phones, action against those over-speeding would have to wait as the state police are not equipped with speed guns or radar-fitted interceptor vehicles. A proposal is said to be under consideration to get speed guns and radar-fitted interceptor vehicles; the government must approve it without delay. Till the police get these gadgets, their action should be aimed at other offences of traffic violations. The action should not be limited for a certain period but continuous which could go a long way in establishing deterrence among the traffic violators: the offenders must fear that they were being constantly watched. By their own admission the state police officials do not chase any vehicle involved in over-speeding for the fear of the chase causing an accident. The Supreme Court panel has also recommended action against those involved in jumping red light but sadly the state hardly has road signals. While the police get into action, they and other enforcers of road safety rules must work in tandem toward getting the required gadgets and signal lights.
The Supreme Court panel has found that action against errant drivers across the country has not been very effective as the driving licences after suspension were returned to them, who have been misusing them to continue driving vehicles. Though it has been directed by the panel that the transport department should retain the driving licences of the errant drivers till the expiry of the suspension period there is every possibility of the drivers driving the vehicles without licence. The authorities should find a solution to this loophole. Besides, given the fact that a large number of driving licences in the country are fake, there is every possibility of people procuring more fake licences with different names and addresses. There should be a uniform mechanism all over the country to check the genuineness of the licences by the police and road transport personnel using hand-held machines capable of verifying the authenticity of the licences. Such a mechanism would go a long way in taking action against those using fake licences and prevent accidents as also deaths. There should be deterrent action against those found driving with fake licences and those without licences extending to a jail term.
The police should also act against those indulging in double parking especially on roads or streets declared as one way. There are also people who halt their vehicles besides the parked vehicles and sit in them for long durations thereby hampering smooth movement of traffic and barely leaving space for passage of one vehicle. Besides, a large number of vehicles often enter in ‘no entry’ or one way roads and go scot-free as hardly any action is taken against them with no law enforcing officials present.
The police should be equipped with the best technologies like speed radars of course which would capture the speed as well as the number of the erring vehicle and help them in taking action against the violators. The police would neither have to chase the violators nor be present on the scene of violation. The authorities would be able to enforce traffic discipline using the modern gadgets with lesser number of officials, which would also help in keeping track on other illegalities and crimes. Besides, such provisions would not allow the violators to use any loophole to wriggle out of action. It is time that the authorities should take immediate steps to invest money for long-term gains. However, the gadgets are not all the police need. They also need to act consistently and comprehensively and in periodic bursts. As the police are understaffed, they can use guerilla tactics, relying on surprise apprehensions. Secondly, they must not return licence to any violator even if the local MLA or minister calls.


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