Tech savvy traffic cops in New Delhi are preparing to issue e-challans in a pilot project undertaken by the state transport department. Mobile teams will issue traffic tickets to vehicles violating traffic rules. Motorists who violate traffic laws will be issued these e-challans and the details of their vehicles will be updated on the transport department’s central database.
The teams undertaking this pilot project will have laptops at their disposal which will be used to immediately upload information of offenders to their central database. TOI reported that a senior official in the department talked about how information regarding a vehicle, including past offences will be available to the teams immediately. The core focus of this pilot project is to pin down not only vehicles flouting common traffic rules but primarily those which do not have their Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates and are being driven by drivers without licenses.
The team aims to do a comprehensive test by testing multiple types of traffic violations including the ones that fall under commercial categories. Officials will be on the watch out for overloaded vehicles. The immediate retrieval of past offences based on registration number will allow the teams to impound the vehicles which are found to be regular offenders. Otherwise, the fine for overloading is Rs. 2,000 plus Rs. 2 per kg above approved limits. The transport department seems to have done its homework as it is reported that certain areas may have been hand-picked to maximize the footprint of the pilot project.
In India, Chennai became the first city to successfully implement E-Challans last year. According to this Hindu article, e-challan system has been a run-away success and the entire project cost was recovered in matter of months.
Such connectivity is a mainstay for cops in western countries. Cop cars in countries like US, UK and Australia are known to have built-in systems that immediately give historic information regarding a vehicle, possibly on the base of its registration number. This would help officers to ascertain if the person regularly flouts traffic norms or not. Moreover, the system is also likely to alert officers if the car in question has been reported and flagged off as stolen.
In many western countries, governments are known to follow a ‘Demerit Points System’ wherein every traffic offence attracts a certain amount of fixed points. Whenever a driver is charged with a traffic offence, the points are automatically added to the traffic department and police’s database. After a fixed threshold is reached, the driver gets a temporary ban on his/her license. This ban can range from months to up to an year depending on the type of offence and other related factors. There may also be a permanent ban imposed.
If implemented in India, there are many possible advantages of this type of system. It can help nab repeat offenders and could very well be a significant addition to the government kitty via traffic fines. An immediate ‘background check’ of the registration of a vehicle may help in keeping unlicensed vehicles off the roads.
An updated central database will aid the transport department in maintaining efficient records and moreover, accurate statistics are vital when infrastructure or policy related decisions need to be made.
From a common man’s perspective though, it hints that this comprehensive system will tighten the loop around drivers found flouting traffic rules.
Repeat offenders could also find themselves at the other side of the driver’s seat, literally.