As part of effective use of technology in traffic management the police introduced a system of e-challans in this city three years ago to rein in erring drivers.
Within two years, the number of e-challans issued for different violations like jumping signals reached 10,31,000. However, only 20-25 per cent of the drivers paid fines.
The police officials racked their brains on how to clear the lakhs of pending e-challans when sub-inspector M. Narsing Rao, a graduate in electronic engineering, thought of the Programmable Device Application (PDA). The Electricity and road transport corporation departments were already using PDAs to generate power bills and bus tickets. Mr. Rao came out with the novel idea of installing GPRS SIM cards in PDAs and connecting them to a central server, making them online instruments.
The Hyderabad-based Mother Technologies and Project Ventures designed special software synchronising the PDA with the central server having the database of all e-challans issued vehicle-wise. By keying in a vehicle number, the data of all e-challans issued against that vehicle can be seen on the instrument's screen.
It will retrieve the data from the central server and produce a printout with details of the fine amounts with date, the type of violation and the owner's address.
Making use of the new tools, the Hyderabad police could clear nearly 60 per cent of the e-challans. As tracing a vehicle owner is a cumbersome process for collection of fines, the police started organising special drives by stopping vehicles randomly during lean hours.
Using the PDAs, they would verify if any e-challan was issued earlier and release the vehicles only after the payment of fines. This sent warning bells to drivers that they could not evade e-challans for long. The percentage of persons paying the fines went up. “It has an overall positive effect of increased compliance with road rules, reflected in dipping road accidents despite the growing number of vehicles” said Traffic Police Additional Commissioner, C.V. Anand.
Making the instrument more useful, the officials are planning to use it for spot fines. This will help policemen issue a challan within seconds, and focus more on regulation. This experiment of the Hyderabad police, said to be the first of its kind in the country, has become a role model for police in other cities.
Police officials of Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chandigarh and Coimbatore appreciated the concept of PDAs for effective traffic management and are planning it to introduce in their cities on a trial basis.