Cops, New measures and Traffic violations

One of the most common violations in traffic offences is jumping signals, it gets even worse when there is a cop trying to regulate traffic without the aid of a signal. Drivers can easily notice the lack of order from a mile away. This means just to cross the junction, they increase their speed to make it past the signal. Its in such instances that a lone cop trying to restore order and sanity, and find it hard since motorists don’t notice them. Its really hard to notice a 160cm man, standing in some corner, holding a stop sign, or raising his hand from 400 meters away, especially when there are half a dozen vehicles ahead of you. If drivers jump signals under such circumstances, its understandable to some extent, it still is wrong and unpardonable to people like David, but then I would understand their plight, but cutting a signal when the new neon lights are functioning is unpardonable.
374977549_dc6215aac4_b.jpg (Pic taken without the prior consent of Keerthivasan)

Apparently even the police seem to think so, im surprised since they didn’t act on it. There is a fine of Rs 500 for rash driving, the definition of rash driving is subjective, I guess the cop decides what constitutes rash driving based on his financial situation, but just Rs 50 for cutting a signal. It would make more sense for cops to have a higher fine for jumping signals; it would definitely raise their incomes for sure. The cops seem to have caught onto this, so now for compounded signal jumping the fine is Rs 1000. this means the person for the first offence is fined Rs 50 and consequently is fined Rs 1000.
Our cops in Chennai are clever, they have decided to increase the likelihood a person will jump a signal by extending the functioning hours of signals by two hours each day. Now the signals will be switched on at 5 am and will be turned off at 11 pm. turning the signals off at 11 pm makes some sense, there is some semblance of traffic on the roads, but at 5 am? The only traffic is in mount road and the health conscious crowd that lands up at the beach for their morning walk. Most of the other roads are empty, and waiting a full 90 seconds this early in the morning, when one is usually half asleep can be an excruciating process. I doubt if the cops themselves will even bother to wake up this early and catch those who jump signals, they probably are busy after a whole days work and might be suffering from a mild hangover. It’s a useless move to turn on the signals an hour earlier. Most roads are anyway empty till 7 am, except for engineering college busses filled with sleepy eyed future IT employees. Those who will make this country proud on the global stage, by hoisting the tri-colour in London, New York and elsewhere. While they are learning to serve the nation, I wonder if it is right to fine them for traffic violations, the nation does come first, doesn’t it? Well if a cop is desperate enough, it definitely helps him, and he cares more about his personal well-being before anything else.
The Hindu article covering this story.

12 Comments so far

  1. sj (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 3:44 am

    People who break traffic rules should be fined and have there license removed. Then only will people learn one they lose there license and if they are caught again they should have there vehicle compounded. Once this sort of punishment starts then Chennai motorists will think a 1000 times before jumping signals or breaking any other rules. More signals and speed cameras should be setup in the city to ensure this happens as offender will be caught on tape then have a fine issued.

  2. Lokesh (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 8:54 am

    Good Post.
    However, I lost the context of the article when I saw the association you have made of Engineering Students as “Future IT Coolies”.

    Can you repharse that even if you didnt intend to say what it really means?

  3. vatsan (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 9:01 am


    what i intended was that they don do much more than clerical work in out IT cos, and i din mean it in a derogatory sense.

  4. vatsan (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 9:06 am

    and I have made the changes lokesh.

  5. Nilu (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 11:01 am

    Is lousy language a prerequisite to write here?

  6. Bharath (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 11:27 am

    so, finally wat’s your point? that its ok to skip signal at 5am? we have to realize that the cops dont have a central database for recording offenders; so i dont see how they are going to put the compounded clause into effect. worse, a few policemen were even caught with fake challan books – in effect the money that they were ‘officially’ charging went straight into their pockets! sj’s suggestions are pretty drastic with a lot of scope for abuse by our policemen.
    in certain cities in the US, detectors are embedded in the road beneath the signal. in case of off-peak hours, the system is able to detect if a vehicle is waiting and changes the lights accordingly. i guess the system is pretty expensive but the government could try installing it at least on a trial basis at some junctions.

    and oh, you left out BPO employees heading back home after a long night’s work :)

  7. david appasamy (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 11:29 am

    Vatsan, I believe the police are trying to bring some measure of sanity by levying a Rs 1000 fine as a possible deterrant to drivers who jump the signals. Not because they are ‘clever’. The hours have been increased in the morning and evening because of the density of traffic being higher even at those time nowadays. Especially on arterial roads into the city, and leading to areas where there is a concentration of offices that work 24/7. Far from my being a judge of people (reference to ‘unpardonable’), its to do with making the city a safer place for everyone. When you see from the papers two to three people dying on the roads every day, many of them young people on two wheelers, its natural to be concerned. i hope you see things in that perpsective!

  8. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on February 1st, 2007 @ 11:52 pm

    Its funny how people reveal the real reasons for the dreadful state of traffic here.

    Even in an article on road safety: …and waiting a full 90 seconds this early in the morning, when one is usually half asleep…

    Driving while half asleep. Right…

    And completely offtopic, it would help if you guys didn’t feature large pics. Some of us are on BSNL DataOne Fraudband — and it takes a while for the pics to load and display.

  9. Ken (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 1:29 am

    Why switch off the signal lights at all? Let them function 24hrs and let people follow the rules. Waiting 90secs is worthwhile instead of driving into somebody else who, ofcourse, would be in as much hurry as you.

  10. annoynomas (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 8:33 am

    You are talking about Traffic signals, obeying them blah, blah.. I just returned from Chennai, where there is NO such thing as Traffic ..What you have there is an example of ‘Chaos’.. There are several thesis and people have gotten Phd. claiming ‘Chaos’ cannot be regulated ..So, what is the point of this occassionally functioning or functioning at random or functioning with total disregard in applying ‘traffic engineering’ principles. It may be another form of ‘Indian rope trick’ to make beleive that there is order exists going forward. Just like calling an ugly form of rocks and cement as ‘fly over’ when you can only inch over up above or down below.
    What you have there is ‘Pandemonium Plaza’.
    So, please don’t spend your valuable intellect
    on subjects like Chennai Traffic.
    My ‘paisa’ worth . First you need good roads, then you need road worthy vehicles, then people who know where they want to go or coming from, understand they can’t pretend to be important by talking on a cheap cell phone and behave like sucessful IT sales rep and finally they need to understand it is a ‘privilage’ to drive on the road, and need skills to learn before they drive other wise they might kill someone or themselves. So, Traffic signals don’t matter.
    So, please save us readers from traffic related crap.
    Do write about something, we know you are talented .

  11. vinodvv (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 11:44 am

    I just heard from a friend that he got caught near Velachery bypass road for speeding. I asked him whether they issued a ticket?
    Nope, just bribed 100RS.

    One thing I understood very clearly, just because I blog things won’t change.

    I am tired, hopeless.

  12. Jeevan (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

    In this situation the government is going to install supervision cameras in 20 important signals to catch those jumping signals!

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