Traffic: Who will control it?

Lalit Shastri

Under Section 190(2) in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, any person who drives or causes or allows to be driven, in any public place a motor vehicle, which violates the standards prescribed in relation to road safety, control of noise and air-pollution, shall be punishable for the first offence with a fine of one thousand rupees and for any second or subsequent offence with a fine of two thousand rupees.

Notwithstanding the law of the land, many unscrupulous citizens have illegally installed hooters and high beam lights above the roof line of their cars.

It’s important to note that only ambulances, police personnel on law and order duty, and convoys of VVIPs, who have been provided with special security cover due to the threat perception, have the legal right to use hooters and no body else. If every Tom Dick and Harry starts using hooters, which has now become a common problem, obviously it would be difficult to know who should have the right of way and who should not.

This problem has spread like cancer and the so- called VIPs who draw power from their heirarchy in the political space or closenes to politicians in power think it is their birth right to throw their weight around, demonstrate their authority and bulldoze their way on the road. The situation gets worst confounded by the tendency of many government officers to assert their position and they use the number plates of their official vehicles to flash even their entire postal addresses. Some members of the higher and subordinate judiciary can also be seen being driven in their official cars that have number plates announcing as if the Court is on the move. If that is the case, one wonders how many of them have taken suo moto cognisance of violation of traffic rules or flaws in the management of traffic, especially overspeeding and reckless driving.

Another problem worth noting is the habit of many who drive at night with high beams.

Light abuse on our roads has touched alarming levels. When driving at night if you glance at the rear-view mirror, almost hundred per cent of the headlights are on high beam. It is rare to see people driving on low beam these days and the problem gets magnified by the latest mercury lights.

Those are like precision scalpels directly into the eye.

A comment on social media

When driving like a decent citizen in low-beam behind a vehicle, it is like a nightmare when suddenly the guy behind bombards you with the high beam. Like a bully he would send the signal that he wants to overtake. Those city buses and municipal dumpers, and of course the drivers insulated by the Sarkari babus and their families whom they serve at the cost of the exchequer, do this all the time.

Also, what about people’e right of way on our roads. Imagine you are driving straight on a main road and suddenly from a connecting road or bye-lane comes a recklessly driven SUV, a commercial/ municipal vehicle, a huge water tanker or a school bus and they do this without following the “stop-look-go” rule. In this way, they smash your right of way. Every time one escapes a hit in a scenario like this, one is surely lucky. As if all this is not enough, there are these three wheelers -autos and tempos and goods carriers – for them, lane driving is an alien concept, they know nothing about it.

its a sorry state of affairs…You are at your own mercy when you are commuting on the roads of Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh. By the time you return after a drive in Bhopal, or for that matter any other city in the state and in many different parts of India, you are bound to be at your wits’ end.


One comment

  1. Your article on, rather your concern for the horrifying state of our traffic on roads is very pertinent. Everyone keeps complaining about this, but the situation is turning worse by the day. Those who are supposed to be vigilant and take action against the violators (the law& order personnel, the police, the traffic police) are often seen breaking the rules themselves. Many of them do not even bother about such violations and seem to be unaware of the rules. I think, one main reason for this state of affairs is unscrupulous ‘distribution’ of driving license – we all know how it works!

    I do not see any chances of improvement on our roads. The will to be strict is totally missing. We can only hope that individuals have patience while being on road, and become responsible themselves.


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