Thursday, May 6, 2010

Because I wish to share..

..I am posting this at the risk of being bullied by friends and family. Thankfully, friends don't follow the blog, and family would anyways find out sooner or later. I was caught by the traffic police today for talking on the phone while driving. Actually I had stopped at a signal, when the maid called up, and since she calls from a public phone, I simply could not afford to miss the call. She would have happily hung up and walked off, while I would be left wondering till eternity as to why she had called up. Moreover, she calls mostly to notify an absence, and this is 'the deciding factor' which determines what our day would look like the moment onwards, and who between us would take off from work and suffer the child. Digression over, the signal turned green while I was still on the call and almost immediately, the cop appeared out of nowhere. I think he saw me talking while I was still waiting at the signal, and with little luck with the traffic light, he made it. Anyways, I was taken to the other side of the road, and he demanded that I pay up. I asked for a challan, to which he cheekily replied - 'Madam, challan ka 200 lagega'. I was already irritated with the maid and the sequence of events, so pulled out 200 rupees from my wallet and handed it over to him without another word. He was taken aback a little, but then hurried off to get me a reciept which I just threw in without even checking. After I reached the office, I took out the reciept and realised that he had charged me for 2 offences, one was offcourse 'talking on phone while driving' and the other was lane indiscipline. Since the penalty for the actual offence was only 100 rupees, he added an imaginary one to make up the amount to 200. He probably thought that for 100 rupees, people might not be even interested in bribing him. But what really disappointed me was the penalty. Taking calls while driving can have terrible consequences, and 100 rupees is all you get fined for it? And tell me, who really minds shelling out that amount these days? My maid doesn't mind if I do not pay her for the day she takes off without prior notice, and continues to do so with delight. Her daily salary is more than 100 rupees, and she doesn't care. I spend an average of 100 rupees on petrol every day. It just doesn't sound like a fine, and the purpose is entirely lost. I have pledged not to recieve calls while driving because I know how wrong it is, but I know people who would not be deterred till they are made to pay for it. And paying it with a fine is a zillion times better than paying it with somebody's life. My cousin got fined for $250 for speeding on the freeway in Texas, and it was a lesson learnt the hard way. I so hope that they raise the penalty for all traffic offences to a reasonably high amount. However, given the state of affairs here, with the cops being so lowly paid and people so willing to bribe, it might just backfire and government may just lose out on the collections even more.

12 comments:

ekta said...

common..i mind shelling out 100 bucks..could get 5 nail polishes from it.:P..lol...(pari would definitely agree..:P)

Violet said...

We were not talking about children in this post, who are yet to reach an age when they can drive a car legally :D

Abhishek Jain said...

usne agar 1000 rupay maang liye hote to the blog would have been on how impolite and compassion-less the cops of today are ..

Violet said...

uske maangne se kya hota hai. For thousand rupees, I would have checked with people if that is the correct penalty amount, and verified the challan before paying up. And then the post would have been about how much that hurt me, and how careful I will be with traffic regulations going forward. That is exactly my point, for 100 rupees, I might just continue taking calls at the risk of getting fined once every week. The only reason that I would follow rules is that I realise that a violation might actually cost me much more than money, that 100 rupees is not a deterrant for sure.

Mama - Mia said...

yup. totally agree. the fines should be very high for people to bother listening. but yes, that also leads to cops earning ore bribe rather than people learning their lesson.

In Bombay the fines are pretty stiff. no setabelt its close to over 1k. drunk driving 5k and 1 night in jail. that should be like goddamn minimum!

so what did the maid wanna say?! :p

cheers!

Anant said...

The traffic fines most definitely should be increased to much higher levels. It will probably increase corruption but there can be measures taken to minimize that. Like giving all cops 10-20% of the fines they collect tax free. So if fines are increased to 1000-5000 type levels, you might need to shell out more than 100/200 to 500/1000 amounts(of bribe) for the cop to show any interest. That would be a deterrent I would say (against breaking the rules ofcourse).

Violet said...

Mama - Mia: To be honest, I felt a little sad for the cop too. I mean, with the fine amount so low, he would have felt insulted when I almost threw the money at his face without the slightest regret. I immediately felt remorse, and said Sorry Sir! Though he did not deserve too much since he was expecting to be bribed, but still.. And the fines are not uniform through the country?? I thought it is the same everywhere.

Anant : If you are the same person I fought with last night, I can't believe you commented. After almost 2.5 yrs of blogging, I finally managed to write something that could make you comment :D

Abhishek Jain said...

wah wah !! blog blog khel rahe ho .. time nahin mila hoga na on weekend :P

Violet said...

We are one terribly busy couple, you see.. especially on weekends :D Did you see his blog, the last 3 posts are on climbing, climbing and more climbing!

Abhishek Jain said...

waise in hindsight .. is is good that the policeman did not charge you for driving while being under-age .. u know..like that census person :P:P

Violet said...

:D He did check my DL though, but I think they would do that for all offenders.

Vineet Gupta said...

I used to think the same way, but my brother enlightened me by opening me up to another point of view.

Talking on the phone, while driving or even when crossing the road can be really dangerous.

But, yet so many people do it. And very few of them get actually caught. And, if you are amongst the students, you might even prefer paying Rs. 50 to the cop, rather than getting Rs. 100 receipt which we can proudly keep.

If we keep the fine to say Rs 1000, if you are suggesting, most of the people would happily pay cop Rs 100-200. That way the real offence wouldn't get registered anywhere. Its not just about a single case of talking while driving incident or about number of such cases that get registered.

Think about someone, who is a repeated offender and keeps getting away by paying Rs 100-200. That guy, wouldn't have no case/fine/offence registered under his DL. If such a guy continues in such a vein and makes a bigger crash, he would be let of easily, because there was no fine/case/offence registered under his DL.

Under current system atleast, any such offenses such as crossing red light etc. get registered under your DL, once true driving record can be tracked. It also prevents corruption as it prevents cop from taking Rs 100-200 from each offender and let him go.

Regarding the deterrence potential of Rs 1000 fine vs Rs 100 fine (based on gross assumption that our cops are perfectly honest gentlemen), I don't think it makes any difference. Higher fine, might be deterrent in the beginning but in the end, we might just get used to higher fine way of life, just like we have got used in other walks of life in Bangalore.