CHENNAI: Proving a section of road experts wrong, the move to increase fines steeply has actually brought down traffic offences by roughly 60%, according to Greater Chennai Traffic Police (GCTP) data.
After a three-year delay, the state home department finally on October 20 revised the fines for various traffic violations on par with Union road transport’s amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act.
Since then, those committing offences like helmetless or drunk driving, overspeeding and signal jumping are paying a hefty amount as fines. This attracted criticism from a section of the public, transporters and a section of experts even warned that Chennai could join the list of global cities where the deterrent effect disappeared over time as experts believe certainty of punishments is more effective compared to severity.
But effective implementation of the rule has helped in reducing violations and saving lives due to road accidents in the city. For instance, earlier when bikers were charged only ₹100 for driving without helmets, GCTP roughly found around 94,000 violations every month. But last month, only 42,000 violated the helmet rule and GCTP attributes it to fear of paying a steeper fine. Similarly, overspeeding cases have almost dropped by 70% in November and December compared to what was reported earlier this year every month.
GCTP data also suggests that under the old fine slab, they collected Rs 2.2 lakh as fines every month. This cumulative figure has also come down to Rs 97,000 now and this is a clear indication that fewer motorists are violating traffic rules of late. “Steeper fines have definitely acted as a deterrent and one could see changes visibly while travelling on arterial roads in the city. Still there is a lot of scope for improvement and we are strengthening our enforcement systems for better results,” said a senior traffic police officer.