In a city with more than half a crore vehicles plying on the roads, a whopping 10,000 cases are being booked every day for offences such as overspeeding, drunk driving and riding without helmets. With traffic violation rising in proportion to the vehicle population, the city police have come up with an innovative plan to bring down traffic violations. The law-enforcement officers in the city have been provided with a modernised e-challan devices to penalise violations.
Till now, violators had a free run. The enforcement officers were also not aware of who the violators were. But now the new online system, which is integrated with all Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) using the Vahan and Sarathi eco-systems, will make sure that an erring motorist gets a challan.
Challans can be issued against vehicles belonging to other States too. Pending challans booked by other States can also be accessed.
P. Balaji, chartered accountant from Adambakkam, said, “Any erring motorist is issued a challan by the traffic police for offences including jumping the signal or not wearing a helmet. The fine amount is collected on the spot. Those who flout rules cannot get away without paying the fine on the spot or later. The system will curb corruption as well.”
“The traffic police must launch an elaborate campaign to orient people and motorists about road rules, their rights and responsibilities, and the newly-introduced e-challan system,” argued advocate V.S. Suresh.
R. Sudhakar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic South, explained: “In the previous system, we had a standalone machine which printed challans. We had no background information on the motorist. Traffic personnel were unaware of challans issued previously in other cities or States against the particular motorist. Now, this software has been developed by National Informatics Centre and customised for Greater Chennai Traffic police.
It has been integrated with the software, ‘Vahan’, for vehicle registration data, and ‘Sarathi’ for driving licence data maintained by the Union Ministry of Road and Surface Transport. We have access to all details about the motorist, even the photograph of the user. Even the genuineness of the vehicle owner/ licence can be verified.”
An arduous task
Over 250 traffic inspectors/ sub-inspectors book cases for various reasons such as overspeeding, drunk driving, driving without helmets, cellphone use while driving, overload in goods carrier, carrying passengers in goods carriers and not fastening seat belts.
Additional Commissioner of Traffic, A. Arun said: “Undoubtedly, the police officers’ duties are arduous. Each and everyone of them booked 12,000 cases per year after stopping at least 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles on the road.”
“Hereafter, we need not argue with motorists over payment of fine or the legitimacy of violation. The machine will show everything, from violation committed by the motorist on the spot and earlier traffic offences, if any. Antecedents of the motorist and vehicle is readily available. Since it is fully integrated with national driving database, it can fetch details of a driver such as name, address, mobile number and even photograph. We can check if the licence is genuine or duplicate,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police, Triplicane (Traffic) M. Radhakrishnan.
If the driving licence of a particular motorist has been suspended, it will reflect in the database.
Renewal of fitness certificate or name transfer will not be permitted by the software system at RTOs, throughout India, if there is a pending payment of fine for violation. Officers can recommend suspension of driving licences at the time of booking the offence itself.
For effective monitoring, senior officers will be able to see the real-time location of officers who are booking cases. “In the old system, the officer uploads the details of cases booked on the machine at his convenience. Now, the superior officers can monitor the system on his dashboard, which has data including number of cases, types of cases, vehicles and the place of violation.
Booking of cases for violation and payment through credit/debit cards can be done using the same device. There will not be any deviation between the penalty levied and the amount collected.
K.P. Subramanian, retired professor of Urban Engineering Department, Anna University, said, “Locations vulnerable to such violations must be identified and targeted. The present system of stationing police personnel at signalised intersections must go. The best enforcer is one who is invisible and can spring a surprise on violators by catching them at unexpected locations at unexpected time. The objective of traffic management and enforcement is not to impose heavy penalty on every violator and fill the government coffer. What’s important is to send the right message and create an environment in which violators have an apprehension that they might be caught anytime, anywhere.”