India - where traffic rules violation is the norm

If Las Vegas is for gambling, New York city is for skyscrapers and Tirupati is for ladoos then India is definitely for traffic violations.
If you don't believe it, just stand on the road for a minute and see how many vehicle riders flout traffic rules. By and large the lack of discipline among drivers is attributed to road crashes. If someone tells you about any road crash or a pedestrian getting killed or injured on the road, the first thing that comes to our mind is that the driver must have broken the rules, or the pedestrian must have been jaywalking.

images 1

We always rationalise our behaviour on the road arguing, "we are victims of circumstances, since he is doing, so am I". We don't have patience at red lights waiting for them to turn green. When the light turns green, if you don't move in a second, the guy behind you turns red. The inevitable honk follows.

5 lakh road crashes and 1.5 lakh fatalities in India. Seems too much but not really. I often get amazed and perhaps relieved that these numbers aren’t even higher. Look at the sheer number of vehicles on the road. Look at the number of trips made every day. Look at the frequency of violations which we make every day. If you stand on the corner and count how many drivers make violations such as over speeding, triple seat driving, not wearing helmet/seat belts, lane cutting, distracted driving, under-age drivers, etc it is nothing short of mind boggling. Proportional to the violations, it seems the crashes aren’t as many!

We may be disciplined at home or workplace, but we are not disciplined on the road. We can spend 9 months in the womb before being born into the world, but can we wait for 60 seconds at a traffic signal?

images 2

What is the solution? A man or woman in uniform?! I have a fear of the uniform.
I overspeed, jump signals, never wear a helmet and fasten my seat belt. I keep doing this until I am confronted by the Police. As long as I am not stopped, I will continue to violate the traffic rules. I won't stop unless I am caught on the road. I won't stop unless I am fined on the road. It is not the fine amount, but it is humiliation and ego hurt which makes me miserable.
COVID 19 has changed human life upside down, but did it change human traffic behaviour? I guess not.

I never resolve to change my traffic behaviour. I still break the rules. I still jump the signal. I still overspeed. I am the victim of circumstances. Police on the road are the bogeyman for me. Visible consistent and on ground enforcement then, it seems, is the only way out.

Strengthening deterrence of traffic violations by on-road policing will not only strengthen citizens' sense of security on the road but also contribute to the fight for road safety. There is no substitute for a deterrent police presence on the roads to reduce life-threatening traffic offenses.


Article by Sandeep Gaikwad

Photos by Aditya Chawande

Add comment

Security code