BHUBANESWAR: If everything moves in the right direction, persistent or habitual traffic violators could have their driving licences annulled.
Even as the State Government works on implementation of a comprehensive Road Safety Action Plan (RSAP) to make roads safer and reduce accidents along with fatalities, the final report on the policy framework has recommended formulation of a penalty point system for traffic violations.
The system would keep record of traffic violations and the violators will be handed penalty points along with imposition of fines. “If their penalty points exceed a well-defined threshold within a set period, they will lose their driving licence,” the experts have suggested.
The Action Plan, however, stressed complete police reorganisation for improved traffic management and called for deployment of dedicated traffic police system in all cities, towns and district headquarters. Their responsibilities, like managing and enforcing traffic rules should be uniform in the State. An independent traffic wing should be established with creation of a post of IG (Traffic and Road Safety) and DSPs (Traffic) under it in all the districts. All the urban areas should have Inspectors (Traffic) and highway patrols for NHs and SHs headed by sub-inspector. Each highway patrol unit should be in-charge of a 30 km stretch.
At present, the involvement of Odisha Police in road safety is largely limited to compilation of accident records. Only the Commissionerate Police in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack have been accorded powers for enforcement of road safety rules under the Urban Police Act, 2013. But, acute shortage of police personnel has affected enforcement activities.
The Capital City, which witnesses movement of more than 12 lakh vehicles everyday, has only around 192 policemen for traffic management. The inadequacy is evident from the large number of accidents and fatalities with Bhubaneswar recording more than 875 accidents and 174 deaths in 2013.
Apart from Twin City, five other cities of Rourkela, Puri, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Jajpur have special arrangement for traffic management. However, police teams engaged in traffic management do not have any power to enforce the provisions of Motor Vehicles (MV) Act.
The RSAP has called for making amendments to the MV Act and even suggested formulation of a State-specific MV Act for effective enforcement of traffic and road safety rules. Enforcement of traffic rules regarding helmet and seat belts, drunken driving, over speeding and flouting signals should be delegated to police across all urban and semi urban areas.