Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Dereliction of Duty

Every time I'm riding on a fly-over, the speed limits make me laugh. I can't exceed 30kmph on a fly-over? Really? Why'd you build one then? Speed limits on Indian roads are unbelievable. I find it preposterous that on the excellent Pune-Bombay expressway, the maximum speed I'm allowed to travel at is 80kmph.

I have it on good authority that the expressway is good enough to travel at over 200kmph. It's only around 220kmph that the first signs of vibrations begin to appear. Why exactly is it then, that an 8 lane express way limits your speed to 80kmph? I regularly do 80kmph on city roads, in the day time. And it's not rash. Fast and rash are different. The problem is actually one of complete apathy on the part of the traffic police authorities.

The procedure to get a licence is rife with corruption. I'm sure half the people on road today paid their way into a licence. Those who got a licence properly (like me) will agree that the procedure is laughable. You do not need any road sense whatsoever to get a licence. Therefore, you have blathering idiots on road, who have no sense of traffic, machine or ability. These idiots are the ones who ride/drive rash and kill people.

What's the solution? Revamp the entire system. Make it mandatory for everyone to get their licences reissued after a proper exam that tests most aspects of city driving. Sure it'll be tedious and inconvenient, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. In Dubai, issue of a licence is met with a party and wild celebrations. Here, it's nowhere as hard to get.

But what is it that the police does? Nothing. And the worst part is, they wash their hands off all accountability by setting laughable speed limits. The moment someone dies, it wasn't because the fool shouldn't have been driving in the first place, it's because he was overspeeding!? The police transfers all blame to the victims of the system, and merrily go about their work (whatever is left after the shirking is complete) .

If you were to compare our speed limits to the US, you'll find quite a contrast. Speed limits on internal roads in the states are around 30mph. That's about 50kmph. And our traffic police, in all their glory, sets a speed limit of 30kmph on a fly-over!? When will they learn that the solution is not to absolve the system of responsibility by blaming the idiots who made it through the system? The solution is to make sure that idiots aren't allowed to be on the road in the first place. The benefits would eventually outweigh the obstacles. Our roads will be safer and faster. Fewer people will die. Admittedly, it'll be a pain to get our licences ratified again. There will be a major public outcry against it (like when helmets and seat belts were made compulsory). The real reason is not the trouble involved. The real trouble is that most people will fail. But it must happen. I'm willing to subject myself to another test. As long as it does not involve wheelies and stoppies, I'm sure I'll clear it.

I'm looking forward to your opinions.


Gautam Akiwate said...

True... Very true.
Another thing is the one way on FC and Jm roads.I mean they made it one way so that traffic could move faster. Is 30kmph a speed limit??? The speed breakers and the speed limits defeat the purpose of making that road one way!

falconer said...

Root of most problems plaguing the system: Indiscipline.
Unfortunately, revamping the simple traffic licence issue system isn't simple, because its not just a matter of implementation. It will take an entire generation to be born and brought up in discipline to achieve all these things.

greySith said...

I find it ridiculously optimistic to think that mass teaching of discipline at home is going to happen anytime soon. And if it isn't happening, the only way to go is to make it compulsory. Make sure that what parents don't teach their kids becomes a necessity and has to be learnt.

Kaustubh said...

Biggest problem really is the Sadashiv Peth attitude - 'resistance to change' on part of the citizens of Pune.
Secondly, the biggest culprits are probably pedestrians who cross the roads according to their own whims and fancies. I mean they have made decent enough facilities for pedestrian crossings on both JM and FC roads, but people dont want to walk that extra yard. It is not that traffic rules are only for motorists. There is a dire need for 'pedestrian training'.

greySith said...

I'm not even talking about pedestrians. I'm talking about stupid people who cause accidents because of a lack of skill.

Pedestrians are another problem, and they too need to be trained.