mid-day editorial: Let's just tow the line and follow the law
The entire city was shocked after a video surfaced of the traffic police towing a car away while a woman was still inside, breastfeeding her baby. A top-level inquiry is on into the incident.
There are certain reports stating that the video does not tell the entire story; that the car's owner had ordered his wife to stay in the vehicle so that it would not be towed away. That may very well be true, and it is up to the investigators to determine. However, the problem goes beyond this one incident, with citizens and traffic cops perennially at loggerheads over towing rules.
Rules need to be properly spelt out. Is this zone parking or no parking? When can your car be towed away? What can you do in case your car is damaged during the towing process? Utmost care must be taken to avoid any damage to cars while they are being towed away. We are witness to numerous skirmishes in police stations, with car owners accusing the towing personnel of damaging their cars. Sometimes, the chalk marks left behind by the police are hard to decipher, other times, the markings are deleted altogether.
Having said that, motorists cannot be absolved of blame. Many leave their cars double-parked or leave them in a way that obstructs traffic. When the traffic police try to do their job and move these vehicles out of the way, the errant drivers argue with towing personnel, try to bribe them, and chase after their vehicles in a desperate and dangerous manner, all because they do not want the hassle of going to the police station and retrieving the car after paying the fine.
Towing battles are second only to parking wars in this city, and both issues are linked. Greater clarity in rules, more respect between the motorists and traffic cops towing is the way to fix this perennially vexing issue.