Hyderabad: Around 200 vehicles plying in the city have over 50 challans pending against them. If a vehicle is caught with over 15 challans, the traffic police can seize the vehicle and send the owner to court. Recently, there were incidents when vehicles with over 100 challans were seized.
Road safety experts feel e-challans must only be given once the rules and regulations and issue of challans are explained to the public. It will also help reduce accumulation of challans.
The traffic police say 129 of 200 vehicles that had over 100 challans against them turned out to be two-wheelers, mostly belonging to delivery boys. Next, around 50 other vehicles were auto drivers, followed by four-wheelers like trucks and private cars. Drivers try to escape enforcement officials by temporarily covering the vehicle’s number plate, so that some numbers are not visible, or by dodging the traffic police and cameras.
Last November, some 20,000 cases were booked against drivers for plying without registration plates or tampering with number plates.
“If a person is caught with over 15 challans during contact enforcement, we book a case and seize the vehicle,” deputy commissioner of police traffic-1, Mr L. S. Chowhan said. “The offender should visit court. Many even tamper with number plates to avoid the challans. But we are conducting special drives. If we find vehicles have over 15 challans, we book a case and the likelihood of getting imprisonment is higher.”
One commuter, Mr D. Harish, said: “If an e-challan is registered against a vehicle, the police should detain and seize it. Most importantly, the person’s driving licence should be cancelled and hefty fine imposed on the offender so he or she desists from committing traffic violations.”
Challan is an indication of violation/offence. So, people with multiple challans driving on the road means the roads are unsafe for offenders as well as others.
“The government should not allow accumulation of over five challans,” Hyderabad-based traffic activist Kiran Kumar Goli said. “If so many challans exist and a fine is not paid within two months, the government should send a warning through email, SMS or letter to the vehicle-owner. If the fine is still not paid a month later, the government should seize the vehicle and cancel the owner’s licence. The action can depend on reason for challan (not having helmet or unsafe driving like jumping a red signal or speeding). For example, accumulation of just two challans should be allowed for speeding/signal jumps as these are serious offences. The traffic department should come up with a policy.”
Malcolm Wolfe, the president of Roadkraft, an NGO that works on road safety, said, “E-challans must only be given when rules and regulations and challans are explained in detail to the public. The police must also have an appeals procedure whereby a driver can appeal against a challan if he or she believe it is an illegal challan. Police dishing out challans without a hearing from the person is draconian.”
Speaking about e-challans, he said: “Many challans only have a photo of the vehicle. If it is a red-light violation, then the red light should also feature in the photo. The public are battling poor roads and poor drivers. If the police too put pressure, it is unfair. Preferably, a challan must be issued on the spot. Immediate counselling is possible and that will deter further offences. The police must interact with public to improve relations. Crores are being collected, how much is spent on road safety?”