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It Pays To Be Tough With Traffic Offenders

The Goa police is finally set to launch a drive against traffic law offenders by  implementing the e-challan system. The home department has accorded approval for procurement of e-challan devices, which will help police officials record  details of violations and store them to retrieve details of past violations for heavier penalties. The police plan to procure 400 e-challan devices and stop manual challaning. Though the e-challan system would help the police  get data of previous violations by offenders, it would not end police interface with the violators. Human to human contact can still defeat the very purpose of using electronic devices for bringing in transparency in the system as there could be pick and choose and manipulations. As details of offences are required to be manually fed into the system for data storage and management there is possibility of misuse of the system by both policemen and offenders.

The police in their drive to enforce rules have issued over 5.72 lakh challans until September this year to traffic rule violators and have enough data collected against the violators. Before introducing the e-challan system the police would have to manually feed the data of past violations by motorists, which could prove to be cumbersome and take considerable time. The police top brass has to ensure that the data is fed at the earliest so as to make the new system effective.  The new system when introduced would surely drive fear among the motorists, especially those resorting to habitual violations of traffic rules. Those found violating drunken driving rule for a second time  would risk not only having their licences cancelled but also having to serve a jail term of upto two years. The police have expressed willingness to share the data collected through e-challan system relating to accidents and violators with the insurance companies. The insurance companies could use the data for levying higher third-party insurance premium on the driver/rider instead of on the vehicle. Based on available data the insurance companies would be able to charge higher premium from a bad rider/driver and lesser amount from a good rider/driver.

The e-challan system would help police in collecting data of offences and feeding it into server, which could be used to detect repeat offenders. However, it would not help end violations of road rules. The police would have to continue the conventional practice of waving down the erring motorists and taking action against them which is a tedious task. In the process of acting manually, there is a possibility of quite a few motorists speeding away and the police may not be able to chase them. Law enforcement officials would have to be deployed on the roads to act the law breakers and their numbers may not be enough to deal with the errant officials whose number is growing by the day. The state was long ago promised installation of CCTV cameras to record road violations but somehow the authorities have failed to make any headway in that direction. Goa needs a foolproof mechanism to deal with rampant road violations. Whatever action the police have initiated to deal with traffic offenders has borne fruit, with most two wheeler riders now wearing helmets. Accidents have also dropped by 20 per cent. The law enforcement officials still find themselves handicapped in absence of adequate number of gadgets to record cases of over-speeding and lane cutting.

The present system of issuing challans for traffic violations has many shortcomings. Apart from being time consuming and labour intensive, it could sometimes lead to offending drivers engaging in violent encounters with the traffic police. Moreover, in cases of multiple violators, the officials would find themselves outnumbered and many could get away with the offences. Given the fact that the number of law enforcement officials is limited it would be impossible for officials to cover all the roads and take action against all violators. It would be ideal for the government to pump in funds to bring at least all the major roads under CCTV surveillance so as to automatically record all road violations and act against the offenders. This will help authorities to deploy officials on other roads and get the maximum number of offenders in the dragnet of law. With major roads undergoing upgradation, the state authorities should ensure that there were provisions for installation of modern gadgets to record traffic violations by pooling resources from various departments concerned. The drive against offenders should be aimed at driving fear of law among the offenders for the sake of public safety and not of only revenue generation.

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