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Brains Super Speciality Hospital
Soft peddling on traffic rules is direct support to indiscipline

Dr. NK Venkataramana, Founder Chairman & Director, Brains Super Speciality Hospital, Bengaluru.

Over the years traffic has become unruly almost in all metros across India. Exponential growth of vehicles, narrow roads, improper planning, overall unanticipated growth has led to such chaos. However, if we give up now we will miss the bus once and for all. Therefore one should not fail in implementing the regulatory systems. There cannot be any compromise on this. In a city like Bangalore bad roads, too many two wheelers, pot holes, not following traffic lanes are perhaps could be a result of long standing negligence. But there can’t be a compromise on the traffic regulations, rules, licensing systems and enforcement. Once this is compromised the game is over. You might as well leave them free and go back to the age old ways of driving without even traffic signals and rules.

Enforcement demands stringent uncompromising laws and their implementation. Recent reduction of fines by the government, I think is a major deterrent towards that goal. When we do not have proper infrastructure, the rules should be so strict in order to preserve the discipline and to run the system efficiently. Otherwise it can deteriorate to a level that is beyond repair. We often get the fear that government is gradually giving up. But reduction of traffic fines is a clear indication of tacit support to such indiscipline in the system. People as such do not respect traffic rules and take pride in violating every possible in way. Most dangerous one is driving in the wrong direction especially on the one ways.

Government as well as police need not play a populist role. In fact they should be the custodians of road safety. Traffic violations are the leading cause of accidents, causing death as well as disability. On the other hand people who drive on the wrong side are literally culpable murderers. They are responsible for the un anticipated accidents and loss of so many innocent lives. Such deliberate acts against the public can’t be supported by soft peddling on the fines. In fact the punishment should extend, in such a way that they should not be a eligible to utilise the insurance also for medical treatment if they violate traffic rules.

In the entire Europe there are no broad roads except the highways. But the traffic moves smoothly, purely because of implementation of systems and enforcement. The rules are rigid and uncompromising. The punishments are also equally steep starting from huge fines, going to the courts and even losing a driving licence which has its own implications. There is no compromise in the system at all. Hence it is sustaining over the years and runs efficiently too.

In 2004 I went to Geneva accompanied by my five year old daughter. As soon as I came out of the railway station with the luggage, no taxi driver was ready to transport us to the hotel simply because they did not have a child seater. I was compelled to book a taxi with a child seater, wait for it to arrive and then only could get to the hotel. Though it was annoying that all the seven taxis standing in line refused to take me, later I realised that it is such a fantastic system of awareness and compliance with law of the state. It was fascinating to see the degree of awareness even at the level of taxi drivers. I was impressed that no one ever was willing break the law and was ready to forgo the business.

It is not difficult to achieve such fool proof system, provided we also create such an uncompromised system.

By and large any regulation will be made after proper deliberation and considerable thinking. Once a rule is announced the entire country should follow and implement. Then only we can create solidarity and uniformity across the Nation. Suddenly two states declaring that they will reduce the fines, dilutes the entire effort. Weather it means violation or not but gives an impression that we are neither united nor interested in the welfare of our own peoples safety. On the other hand we want to please them superficially. It is well known that every rule has an exception; it is equally surprising that it has been extended to the law of the land as well.

It is absolutely essential that we make the laws stringent to improve the present systems.