Talk about traffic and the response of most people would be, “God, I hate the traffic.” People respond in a similar way to traffic-related rules and the lawmakers. And yet, one often finds many educated people breaking traffic rules despite being aware of them. What’s more, many don’t even mind paying the fine imposed by the traffic police.
Metrolife came across many commuters who feel that violating a few rules on the road is okay. Paramjeeth, a housewife, says that it’s the ‘I don’t-care-attitude’ that pushes people to violate many traffic norms. “Basically, we are under the impression that all rules can be broken without any problem, and if problems arise, we can pay something under the table and free ourselves. We, the public, have to arise and do something for self-discipline, especially in observing traffic rules and in public dealings,” she adds.
“Being a responsible driver is important,” says Rushi, an engineering student, but he also agrees that there are times when he has violated a norm or two. “Sometimes I do plug in my earphones to listen to music while riding my bike but I make sure that it does not disturb my driving. I am well aware of my surroundings since I keep the volume low,” he says. The traffic police imposes a paltry fine of Rs 100 for violations like holding or using a mobile phone while driving or riding a vehicle, and for not wearing helmet. “There is also this perception that the maximum one would be fined is Rs 100, after which one can get away. Also, there is a loophole in the system. When a person gets fined during the day, he can actually carry on violating the rule for the rest of the day since he has already paid the fine,” says Pankaj, another student. Rushi disagrees, “I don’t think people really care about the fine being big or small. What matters is that they know they can get away with it.”
But would a bigger fine help? “Not at all,” says Prateek, a student, and adds, “whatever maybe the fine, people will still go ahead and break the rule if they want to. The police need to be more strict and prompt. Many times, we see them collecting fines only on the first and the last five days of the month or on weekends. That’s not enough, they have to make the rules strict and make sure they are enforced as well. Only then will people actually make an effort to abide by the rules,” he adds.