Mamata Banerjee government is a step ahead of other states in raising consciousness of people to bring down road accidents as according to experts. Intense awareness campaign along with a steep increase in fines for traffic violation is necessary to reduce the number of road accidents to half in the country within 2020.
It may be mentioned that the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave approval to amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that allows a steep increase in fine for violating traffic norms. The penalty for the guardian or owner of a vehicle for allowing a minor to drive will be Rs 25,000 in addition to that of three years’ imprisonment. The fine for drunk driving will be increased to Rs 10,000 from Rs 2,000.
Suvendu Adhikari, the state transport minister, said that he would not like to comment without having a look into the bill. But the basic idea is to bring down road accidents. “I personally feel that intense campaign is required besides forming strict rules. We have to make people aware of the risks they may face for violating the norms and the West Bengal government has already taken up the “Safe Drive Save Life” campaign under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”
Bhargav Moitra, the expert of road science from IIT Kharagpur, said: “We have to keep three things in mind. First of all, awareness among people is a must. They must be aware of the penalties (the steep increase in fines) they may have to face if they violate traffic norms so that they do not take unnecessary risk of flouting traffic norms. Secondly, drivers of commercial vehicles must go through a proper training in which they will learn about the amendments in the MV Act that may come into place in future. So that they can aware some more people. At the same time stress also has to be given on road engineering.”
According to a senior police officer, who had served in the Kolkata Police’s traffic department for several years, the police was always in favour of the increase in fine for violating traffic norms. But, in today’s world with the increase in fines awareness is also required.