Lane ‘indiscipline’ rampant on NH bypass; MVD inactive

Violation persists despite AI cam & boards warning of penalty of Rs 1,000.
Heavy vehicles moving along the right side of the highway in Kochi
Heavy vehicles moving along the right side of the highway in Kochi Photo | Nandan R Nair

KOCHI: Rampant lane traffic violations along the NH-66 bypass section from Aroor to Edappally are frequently adding to traffic congestion on many parts of the busy stretch, harrowing commuters along the busy 17-km-long, four-lane section.

The violation continues despite boards warning of a penalty of Rs 1,000 for the offence being put up prominently at places like Kannadikadu and Chakkaraparambu. The inaction of the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD), despite the presence of AI cameras, also encourages violators. “AI cameras on the stretch are functional. However, the action is mostly limited to offences like reckless driving, failure to wear seat belts and speaking on mobile phones while driving. The AI cameras don’t detect lane violations at present,” said a senior MVD official.

The construction of flyovers at Kundannoor and Vyttila has eased congestion to some extent. However, the failure of drivers to follow lane discipline is resulting in slow-moving traffic on the Vyttila-Edappally section, which has numerous ‘U-turns’.

“Heavy vehicles, often the long-distance, goods-laden trucks, proceed through the right side at a slow pace, leading to congestion at ‘U-turns’ along the bypass. On city roads, two-wheelers and autorickshaws overtaking from the left increases the risk of accidents. The MVD and city traffic police should take action,” said Rangadasa Prabhu, president, Ernakulam District Residents Associations’ Apex Council.

The Motor Vehicles Act specifically says the lane traffic rules should be strictly implemented on highways. “As per it, fast-moving vehicles should proceed via the lane next to the median while slow-moving heavy vehicles like private buses and trucks should stick to the extreme left in case of a four-lane section like the Kochi bypass. Other vehicles can enter the one next to the median only at junctions or U-turn or right turn provisions. However, implementing the rules is state government’s responsibility,” said T Elangovan, traffic expert and former director of the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC).

“There is also a need to provide continuous awareness to drivers about the rules as many are unaware of lane traffic rules,” said D Dhanuraj, founder-chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).

The traffic police have initiated measures to enforce lane discipline. “We have deployed personnel for the purpose from Muttom to Aroor,” said an officer with the Traffic East police station.

The bypass is a segment of NH-66 that bypasses the Central Business District (CBD) of the city. It passes via Kumbalam, Madavana, Kundannoor, Vyttila and Palarivattom.

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