Private bus drivers are getting away with reckless and intimidatory driving because of liberal laws and inadequate support from members of the public in penalising them, City Police Commissioner M. R. Ajith Kumar has said.

The notorious driving culture cultivated through decades by the bus drivers in this part of Kerala is yet another reason. Instead of reacting and taking up the issue with the police, members of the public are passive and this has emboldened the crew and owners of buses. This is not the case in places like Thiruvananthapuram, where the public react against reckless driving. People must send text messages and complaints so that the police can initiate action against bus crew, he said, while speaking to The Hindu about how the bus drivers have lost the fear of law and the constraints that the police face.

Bus owners are stating helplessness, and say that they are finding it tough to get good drivers. Many drivers do not deserve to be behind the wheels, while there are bus owners who are not fit for the job either, Mr. Ajith Kumar said.

He added that rule enforcement will be a deterrent only if traffic rules are amended so that violators have to pay hefty fines and punishment. “Sadly, violation of traffic rules is considered a prestige issue and a display of power, in India. This is not the case in the West, where a rule violator is looked down upon. I feel that apart from framing sterner laws, rule violators must be asked to do social service,” he said.

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