No-nonsense Transport Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh, who assumed charge a week ago, is all set to tame lane violators along the 70-km-long Cherthala-Angamaly stretch of National Highway 47 from Monday.

He is out on the road after awareness campaigns by law enforcers and NGOs failed to drill sense into zigzagging drivers.

Mr. Singh will kickoff the enforcement drive on Monday morning near NHAI’s Kumbalam toll plaza. “He will distribute pamphlets and rule enforcement will begin from afternoon. Action will also be taken against motorists who do not slow down or stop on seeing pedestrians cross the road, especially at pedestrian crossings,” said an official of the Motor Vehicles’ Department. Not sticking to a lane and shifting lanes without signalling is a major cause of accidents along the four-lane stretch. Though goods carriers, autorickshaws, two-wheelers and slow-moving vehicles have to use the slow lane on the left side, they often hog the fast lane. They block the movement of faster vehicles, forcing many of them to overtake from the left.

Most rule violators are booked under Section 179 of Motor Vehicles Act – for violating lawful directions, an offence that attracts a Rs.500 ticket. It could be enhanced to Rs.1,000, as per Section 184, being the penalty fixed for dangerous driving.

Inadequate bus bays

Awareness campaigns and enforcement drives lost steam because of inadequate follow-up action and half-hearted rule-enforcement.

The National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) inability to earmark bus bays away from the carriageway and the resultant parking of buses on the slow track, turn the traffic into a parade of a slow-moving vehicles.

Badly designed junctions and non-optimal space utilisation also promoted violation of lane traffic rules. Narrow free-left turns and the absence of reserve lane – the lane meant to accommodate vehicles waiting to turn right at junctions, too defeated the cause of lane discipline.

Though vehicles that exceed the speed limit along the highway are penalized, little action is taken against violators of lane-traffic rules.

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