Punishments for traffic offences by private buses are so trivial that an awareness class for bus crew had no impact on their driving culture, writesAnand Haridas

The crime statistics of the special drive made by the City Police in February do not reflect the ground realities.

The number of cases registered on charges of violating Motor Vehicle Act during 20 days starting February 1 was 4,159.

During this drive, 65 cases were registered against private bus drivers for dangerous overtaking and median line crossing. The police also held five awareness classes for bus drivers and crew.

But this seems to have had little impact on the driving culture of private buses. The police officials point out that chances of lasting solution to this problem are little. On one hand, the punishments for traffic offences by private buses are so little that it hardly serve the purpose of a deterrent.

On the other hand, there are inherent flaws in the system like damaged roads and providing not enough running time for city services, the police said.

"The accent of the drive was to check petty crimes. This will have an impact on grave crimes," said P. Vijayan, former City Police Commissioner.

During this period, 424 cases were registered for drunken driving, 53 cases on charges of over-speeding, 431 for parking on roads, 354 against autorickshaw drivers committing offences, 74 for using mobile phones while driving and 56 for not dipping headlights during night.

"Details of the crime pattern are being studied. An action plan will be formed soon to address specific issues," said Manoj Abraham, the new City Police Commissioner.

There has been an increase in the number of petty cases registered during the drive, the number being 720.

At the same time, the police have started reaching out more to the communities.

Twenty-eight interactive meetings were held with residential associations, senior citizens and former police officials and 20 awareness classes were held during this period.

On other aspects of policing, the drive also flashes high figures. Like executing 788 warrants, arresting 11 accused in long pending cases, registering 45 cases for violation of Abkari Act and arresting 36 accused in property cases. The City Police also registered 122 cases on charges of encroachment of public roads. As many as 233 cases were registered against persons smoking in public places.