midday editorial: Pledge to be better drivers for the republic

Updated: Jan 26, 2018, 08:48 IST | Team mid day

The last three years have seen Mumbai motorists violate traffic rules blatantly

The last three years have seen Mumbai motorists violate traffic rules blatantly. A Right to Information (RTI) query by this newspaper shows a 150 per cent jump in the number of traffic violations from 2015 to 2017. According to the RTI response, in 2017, the traffic police collected a fine of R16.92 lakh for driving without a licence. In 2017, this figure went up to R45.5 lakh. There are disappointing spikes on other parameters too, like jumping signals and talking on mobile phones while driving.

If there was one heartening aspect of the findings, it is that riding without a helmet has seen a downward trend, with the fine collected for the violation going down by half. It is unfortunate that Mumbai, which once had the reputation of one of the most traffic-disciplined cities in the country, is slipping on the scale. We need to see intensive campaigns for safer driving, and respect for the law. A sustained awareness campaign and punitive initiative, like the traffic police conducted for drink driving, will bring results.

Drivers have to understand that rules are made for their benefit. Mature men and women should not need a law or fear of fines to follow basic traffic discipline, but that is the way it is right now. These fundamentals include driving with a licence, which of course is step one and should be absolutely enforced with heavy punishment if people are found without one. Those fines must pinch to be effective. Then, of course come other parameters, which should be graded in terms of severity and gravity of the offence.

Mumbaikars, we need to see a sense of pride and responsibility from you. Make an effort to reclaim your reputation as one of India's best cities to drive in. This Republic Day, make that your pledge.

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