Thursday, October 15, 2009

Traffic experts favour cancellation of licence to make drivers behave

Traffic experts favour cancellation of licence to make drivers behave

Soumya Menon



Errant drivers with thick wallets may still find the going tough if the existing motor vehicle rule is changed in favour of cancelling their licences to slapping tougher fines.
Even though the proposal for amendment of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act) is still at the preliminary stage, traffic experts think that tougher fines for curbing offences will only encourage corruption.
"The present fine of Rs100 is hardly a deterrent as public will throw the money on the faces of policemen. At the same time, there are offshoot problems of increasing the fines which will lead to more corruption. We have to keep in mind that majority of people who have to pay Rs100 fine are from the weaker sections of the society,'' said Praveen Sood, additional commissioner of police (traffic).
The traffic department favours cancellation of licences after three repeated offences to tougher penalties, he said. The need of the hour is to strengthen the system.
"The Indian Motor Vehicles Act and the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act do not have the provision for cancellation of licence. Such a provision has to be implemented,'' he said. .
But hefty fines should be slapped on motorists for drink driving and rash driving which are at a peak in city.
"For routine offences like jumping the signal, the fine can be increased by a small percentage. For serious offences, fines can be increased marginally and licences can even be cancelled. Such a system will work,'' he said.
"We expect it (the amendment) to materialise this time. There are various elements like check on autorickshaws, personal vehicles and others. State governments should form a common agenda and implement the amendment,'' said Bhaskar Rao, commissioner of Karnataka transport department. The department has sought public opinion on the changes to be made in the act.
Criminal lawyer Shankarappa said when amendments are made to the act, the public should know the various provisions in it and also the consequences of its violation.
"Increasing the fines for offences might just be a money making tactic for civil servants. Instead, licences have to be cancelled just like in Singapore and Malaysia where imposition of fines and system is stringent. The law commission, at the same time, should conduct enquiries, and inspections to keep a check during the implementation of the act after it is amended,'' he said.
Kannada film star Diganth Manchale said tougher fines will not help curb offences. "I follow the rules and regulations. If the amendments are people-friendly and educative, they will help bring down cases of traffic offences,'' he said.
Actor Ramesh Aravind said this is the only deterrent and there is a certainty for immediate action in traffic offences. "Imposition of high fines is a system followed across the world. It is high time that even checks on licences are carried out and cancellation or suspension of the licence implemented. This should be the rule for any crime,'' he said.

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