Inconvenience to commuters by random police checks not regretted
By Christin Mathew Philip | Express News Service | Published: 20th May 2017 04:55 AM |
BENGALURU: Soon after taking charge as city police commissioner this year, Praveen Sood directed traffic police personnel not to flag down vehicles unless it is a case of visible traffic violation. In practice, however, little of this is being followed.
Motorists continue to be stopped for random checks across the city. Traffic police officials argue that this is based on the directive by Supreme Court’s Road Safety Committee to enforce mandatory insurance.
Sood, who was Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) in Bengaluru from 2008 to 2011, always opposed motorists being stopped for unnecessary checking of documents. In 2009, Sood had written to the traffic cops not to stop vehicles unless a motorist violates rules like jumping signals, drunken driving, entering one-ways, riding on pavements and riding without helmet.
Sources say that stopping vehicles merely for checking documents causes traffic jams and harassment to motorists. There are also complaints that traffic cops make motorists wait till they pay bribes. There have also been several instances where motorists have met with accidents due to overspeeding while trying to escape the checks.
In response to Sood’s recent tweet against stopping motorists for checking of documents, Sachindra, a netizen, wrote: “Cops randomly stop vehicles for harassing drivers and make money all over India (sic).”
A senior traffic police official cited a recent order from the Supreme Court-appointed Road Safety Committee that mandates checks on third-party insurance of commercial and private vehicles. The committee observed that 50 per cent of vehicles in the country are plying without third-party insurance cover, which will create problems for road accident victims in getting compensation. “We have to stop vehicles on the roads to check that they have mandatory insurance,” he said.
He added that they are also dependent on CCTVs to book traffic offenders. “The percentage of traffic offenders booked through automation will reach about 90 per cent in two years from 53 per cent now. We have also distributed 50 body-worn cameras to traffic policemen to reduce complaints against police personnel regarding slapping of false cases. Our aim is to have evidence-based challan system for traffic violations,” he said.
A traffic police inspector said they have monthly targets in terms of booking cases. “We have to book cases and collect spot fines for field traffic violations to reach the monthly targets. We are also collecting fines for previous traffic violations once they are caught,” he said.
In a city with 66.31 lakh vehicles, Bengaluru Traffic Police booked 91.79 lakh cases in 2016. This is a increase of 15 lakh cases when compared to 2015.