Without traffic law enforcement, road safety strategy and smooth flow of traffic on Pakistani roads will remain a pipe dream. In this regard, the suggestion by Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Muntazir Mehdi that a hefty increase of 900pc in the fine on traffic violations on Lahore roads merits full marks, and hopefully, the implementation of the suggestion will help ensure the smooth flow of vehicles on roads. CTO Muntazir Mehdi has written to the Punjab traffic police head seeking revision of the penalties for traffic violations by amending the Twelfth Schedule of the Punjab Provincial Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965. If his recommendations are accepted and enforced, a motorcyclist driving a two-wheeler without a driving licence would be fined Rs2, 000 instead of Rs200.
The ticket for a car driver will be Rs5,000 instead of the existing Rs500. The same fine stands for all sorts of violations, such as placing tinted glass or wrong number plates, doing wrong parking and driving ‘applied-for’ vehicles, etc. CTO Mehdi thinks that petty fines have failed to create any deterrence. Lahore city roads are being vigilantly watched over by the cameras installed by the Safe City Authority. The cameras initially created fear among the road users, but with the passage of time, violators are coming back to their usual refrains.
The CTO says that hefty traffic fines will help stop violations and end traffic jams which are becoming a norm during peak hours. Moreover, accidents would also be controlled.
There is no second opinion on the enforcement of stricter road laws and tough enforcement officials to man the roads. The CTO’s suggestion is workable, but the problem is with the public outcry against such measures. Several times, the government
But the problem with implementing these laws is that such efforts often attract protests. The government has tried several times the enforcement of helmets for motorcycle drivers and riders, but the campaign never succeeded as the public opposed any efforts aimed at disciplining them. Roads in major cities have gradually become congested, because of the influx of private vehicles, thanks to soft auto loan schemes by banks. Every major road runs bumper to bumper in peak hours, and a slight disruption creates mile-long traffic lines. Our cities need mass transit systems to stem the tide of vehicles. Road safety is linked to the strict enforcement of traffic laws. Order and discipline on the roads will be possible only when both wardens and motorists will be sincere about road safety.
All in all, the CTO’s suggestion should be welcomed by the quarters concerned and strict traffic penalties must be enforced as it will stop blood and traffic jams on roads.