Bengaluru traffic cops hit a century with fines
BENGALURU: Burgeoning traffic in city might peeve the environmentalist and the motorist, but it has had a sunny side of sorts. Until November this year, city traffic police collected Rs 102 crore in fines from errant motorists, a figure that is already the highest in the history of the department. It is also the first time that fines collected have touched the Rs 100 crore-mark.
A massive 92.15 lakh cases were booked until November, a figure that comfortably outstrips the number of registered vehicles — 71.32 lakh — in the city. This translates to an average of 25,248 cases a day. The obvious inference is that some motorists are repeat offenders and suggests that while the traffic police have been vigilant on the one hand, they have been lax on the other since repeat offenders continue to motor on city roads.
Officials claim that Bengaluru collects the maximum in traffic-related fines among all metros in the country. But a fair comparison cannot be made. Delhi collected Rs 74.84 crore, but that figure is only up to September. Mumbai (Rs 10.04 crore till May) and Hyderabad (20.86 crore till October) are some of the other 'top-earners'.
One reason for the high collection of fines is also vehicular density. Bengaluru is home to the second highest number of vehicles among all metros after New Delhi, which tops the list with 1.01 crore vehicles. Hyderabad accounts for 48.70 lakh vehicles (as on October 31), Chennai for 47.57 lakh (as on April 2016) and Mumbai for 30.69 lakh (as on March 2017).
Of the traffic violations that attracted fines, wrong parking topped the list with 20.31 lakh cases. This is followed by: riding without helmet (19.05 lakh cases), pillion rider-without helmet (15.94 lakh cases), jumping traffic signal (6.74 lakh cases) and lane indiscipline (4.20 lakh cases).
Traffic police officials say the increase in number of registered vehicles, revised parking charges, stringent checks, cashless payment facilities through debit/credit cards, online payment system, rise in the number of cases booked through automated systems — mostly CCTV cameras — are some of the reasons for the increase in collection of fines.
Traffic officials said they frequently upload the list of owners of vehicles with multiple violations and are also visiting households of the violators to recover pending fines. Records show that nearly 30% of the total cases have been booked through the automated system. However, there are also complaints of motorists being slapped with fines for offences they never committed.
Officials say errors in identifying registration numbers from CCTV cameras and fake number plates are the reasons for such mistakes and a motorist can substantiate his/her claim by providing evidence. "We have received such complaints from some motorists but we are ready to look into such cases," a police officer said.