No Fines Or Challans, But Immediate Cancellation Of Driving Licenses Has Reduced Number Of Accidents In Tamil Nadu
- License cancellation is a penalty for traffic violations in Tamil Nadu
- 32,000 licenses have been cancelled between January 2017 and March 2018
- Number of accidents came down from 39,420 in 2016 to 38,470 in 2017
New Delhi: Fines and challans are passé and their efficacy, given the paltry punishment, in controlling traffic violations are debatable. Few cities of Tamil Nadu are opting for a stricter measure and are seeing some tangible benefits. In Chennai, Madurai or Coimbatore traffic violators’ licenses are being cancelled, as a result the defaulter loses his right to drive anymore. Around 32,000 licenses have been cancelled across Tamil Nadu between January 2017 and March 2018, resulting in a 2.4% fall in road accidents. Following an order by the state motor vehicles department issued in October 2016, traffic police in a number of Tamil Nadu cities began a strict crackdown on traffic rule violators. Jumping a red light, over speeding, overloading, carrying passengers in goods carriages and using mobiles while driving are some of the offences which can result in cancellation of driving licenses, across the state.
For years, we noticed that fines and challans do not have the required impact on traffic violators. Paying Rs 100 or 200 as fine does not bother violators anymore. We realised that the only way we could reduce the number of accidents across the state was to not allow traffic violators on the roads anymore. If you have to drive, drive safely or don’t, that is what we believe in, said Rajeev Puthalath, Joint Transport Commissioner, State Transport Authority, Tamil Nadu.
Since January 2017, the state has suspended the licenses of over 13,000 people for drunk driving and over 7,000 licenses have been suspended for using mobile phones while driving. Talking on mobile phones while at the wheel, which is seen as a casual traffic violation by both drivers and traffic departments across India often causes fatal accidents, and hence was included in the list of violations for which licenses are to be suspended. Driving without licenses saw the suspension of around 8,000 licenses. Drunk driving, jumping signals, carrying of passengers in commercial vehicles, driving of two-wheelers without helmets and driving without a seat belt are violations which can result in license cancellation.
All traffic violations across the state are taken very seriously. We have issued notices to all traffic departments to ensure that all the listed violations are taken into account when suspending licenses. Once licenses are suspended, a traffic violator will not have the courage to take out his/her vehicle. We are confident that suspension of licenses will also help change people’s mindsets as they will realise that traffic rules ought to be taken seriously, said Mr Puthalath.
The number of accidents in Tamil Nadu came down from 39,420 in 2016 to 38,470 in 2017. The difference, though not huge, has given the state transport department some confidence that accidents can indeed be curbed. The transport department has directed all traffic departments to propagate that traffic violations will no longer attract fines or challans, but will see straightaway suspension of driving license. For the year 2018, the state transport authority is looking to reduce traffic accidents by at least 25 per cent and is hoping that people themselves become conscious to abide by traffic rules more stringently on their own.