Saturday, March 10, 2007

Following traffic laws in India

Ever driven in Noida? If you have, let me know whether you feel an experience like the one that I feel quite often. I consider myself to be a fairly law-abiding citizen, including following traffic rules. So I drive to Noida through a route from East Delhi that passes via some of the older sections of Noida.
What are my experiences like ? I reach a traffic signal, and since it is red, proceed to stop. First time I did this, there was a screech right behind me, and the car behind me just managed to stop in time. The driver looked angrily at me. Now I admit that the signal was relatively free, which means that there were no vehicles coming from the side where the traffic signal was green, but I always believed that red meant that I had to stop, not try to figure out that red meant that you can decide whether to stop or now.
This happens on a regular basis. Sometimes I also get swayed by the moment, in terms of if a traffic signal is red, and cars on my side are proceedings to carry on, I get embarassed about stopping and also carry on, but I always feel guilty when doing such a thing.
Of course, now I have learned enough that I slow down before stopping completely at a red light, so that any vehicle coming behind me has enough notice that the fool in front of him is actually going to stop at a red light and he can move so that he can avoid me. The experience is incredible, you are stopped at a red light, and you feel so foolish since all the vehicles to your left and right are merrily proceeding through the signal.
The biggest problem that I see is that this is not the only case where a traffic signal is broken wilfully, people will drive down the wrong side if it is shorter for them, will use a mobile phone even when driving in peak traffic without a worry, and in some absurd cases will actually expect you to give way even if they are breaking a red light and you are driving safe. At such times, you would really love to have the ability to be able to give our traffic tickets to all such offenders; but far from that, the people who should be doing this duty idly stand by and watch it happen. There have been so many times when a person has broken a traffic light, and the traffic policement does not even make any attempt to stop such a person.
Now, the propensity to disobey a traffic signal is universal, but the reason why traffic is so law-abiding in developed countries is because the law over there is seen to be getting implemented. You break traffic lights, and at some point you are going to get prosecuted and charged an amount which will make you think twice. In India, the chance of getting caught is minimal, and even if you are caught, the charge is such that the inconvenience of the police action is more than the financial impact of the fine.
Getting people to obey the law is an important part of developing a society, and unless people know that the law is going to be implemented, and is going to have an impact on them, there will not be a respect for the law. It is a cornerstone of making a society that is based on laws.

Labels: , , ,

If you like these writings, you can subscribe to this feed to get new postsSite Feed Site Feed

posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:42 AM