Monday, November 24, 2008

Are our Traffic police so helpless?

We were at Poonamalai High Road on Saturday morning, trying to decide if we should resume our proposed bike trip to Yelagiri or call it off, as heavy rains meant the risk factor overweighed the adventure and fun part of the trip. More about that in a separate post. [Photos here]
Traffic constable regulating traffic at Poonamalai
It was 8 AM and we were opposite a traffic intersection, manned by a traffic constable as there was no signal lights. Besides regulating traffic, his additional responsibility was to ensure that no cargo vehicles enter the city (as it was past 7 AM). Once a while, a truck or mini lorry would come and try to go into city. If the constable signals them to stop or not to go into the city, the vehicle drivers would pretend as if they didn’t notice the cop and would continue to drive into the city. So, the only way he could make them stop, was to stand infront of the oncoming truck, thereby forcing the driver to stop. Once the vehicle is stopped, what follows is a battle of words with the vehicle crew, who would either insist that they be allowed to go in or plead that there was some problem/urgency. (I couldn’t hear their conversation-just guessing based on the expressions and hand signals). Before the argument would reach a mutually agreeable stage, the traffic would mess up at the junction and the cop will have to rush there to ease things up, but not before instructing the truck drive to pull over.

The above happened with 4 cargo vehicles within a span of 30 minutes, and in all 4 cases, the trucks would speed away, instead of pulling over, much to the dismay and frustration of the topic cop.

A few questions in my mind on this issue-
Why is that our cops never chase and stop a disobeying vehicle? If you respect their signals and pull over, you’ll be forced to pay a fine or bribe on some pretext or other, those who do not care and speed away are never caught and go unpunished. Last year Hyundai gifted some 100 Accent cars to Chennai police-[Read: Chennai police to play NYPD, sporting Accent cars]why don’t those cars be used to chase disobeying vehicles and enforce some fear, respect and discipline among motorists?

Why should a traffic cop risk his life in going and standing in front of a speeding vehicle to make it stop? They just need to show appropriate signal to the driver, backed by a whistle may be, indicating him to pullover. If the driver doesn’t pull over, the police should either chase them or note the registration number and send a notice to pay fine.

Why are we so disrespectful to cops? May be because we think- if we stop definitely few hundred rupees will be lost in fine or bribe-so better take a chance in escaping, or may be people are confident- that cop can’t do anything if I speed away.

Similar: Surviving traffic police in India * Chennai police get Hyundai Accent patrol cars


Sandesh said...

Stopping the vehicle, noting the number down are no problem for our traffic police.

According to me, what would have happened is that majority of those cargo vehicles belong to kingpins who have their strong hold over the government or atleast a personnel to catch up with in case of any problem. They demand to let 'em in no matter what is the scenario.

Hardly 99% of those who say there is an urgency would be in urgency. Thats not the reason at all.

Considering from the police's POV, he might be afraid of transfers or some other wrath from the politicians. Or else, whats the reason behind him being so loathsome for a mere carriage driver? I dont see a point.

Mridula said...

I can give it another twist. I drive home after 7.00 pm alone and in winter it is pitch dark. If any traffic police signals me to stop, I won't, as I don't trust them at all! And they too don't really expect me to stop, they just wave in a bored manner and let me go.

Now if there was a chase scenario, I wonder what would women in NCR do!