Improper positioning of traffic signal lights and stop lines with hazy markings leave drivers paying hefty fines
A few days after the city traffic police decided to impose steep fines on those jumping traffic signals, banners cautioning drivers have come up at several places. While no one can dispute that the traffic police are making every effort to bring some order to the chaotic traffic movement on the capital’s roads, charging heavy fines without first improving the infrastructure is a nagging point.
The fact is that traffic signal lights at several junctions are not clearly visible to drivers thanks to their improper positioning. Many of them still function on traditional lights instead of the modern preferred method of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Also, timers are absent at most locations.
Stop lines, too, are fraught with hazy markings, and the onus is thus on the driver to carefully check for the lights and even the stop line, lest he should become poorer by Rs. 1,000. Many a time most bikers and car drivers get stuck behind buses when there is traffic congestion. “On narrow roads, you cannot overtake the bus and are forced to follow behind it ‘blindly’ without being aware when the signal turns red,” says Prakash, a hotel worker.
A classic example of improper positioning of traffic signal lights is Patny Centre, Secunderabad. The signal here is positioned to the extreme left, and commuters stopping at this intersection while going from Begumpet to Marredpally cannot be faulted if they assume that there are no signal lights at all.
“You would expect traffic lights to be in the front, but here the signal is to the extreme left, making it difficult for us to notice. Officials don’t bother about providing minimum infrastructure but are in a hurry to hike fines and harass people,” says S. Rakesh from Alwal.
Absence of digital timers, too, is indirectly contributing to signal light violations. Traffic policemen sitting at the central command centre sometimes identify drivers jumping signals going by visuals recorded by cameras installed at junctions and issue e-challans.
“How will the policemen sitting at the command centre know if the vehicle driver’s view was blocked by bigger vehicles in the front, or if it was a deliberate act,” wonders Krishna Reddy of Kompally.
Hyderabad Traffic Police Additional Commissioner Amit Garg, however, maintains that the benefit of doubt will be given to the driver whenever there is a “dispute” over imposition of fine. The traffic police will not resort to scribbling fines without properly judging violation of rules, he claimed.