Unchecked prohibited headlights/dazzling lights on vehicles do result in slow vehicular traffic & accidents
‘Dazzling or Blinding’ lights should be removed also by RTO even after passing/registration of vehicles Regular use of CCTV Cameras to regulate traffic & check offenders would relieve Traffic Cops of some load
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha as per reports is said to have suggested, on 25th February last, while addressing a high level meeting with senior officer from various departments concerned with traffic management and discipline enforcement , among other things, to conduct “causative analysis” of road accidents for working out multi-pronged strategies for road safety so as to reduce fatalities on roads due to accidents. Reviewing the process of installation of CCTVs including that along roads/ Highways, Lt Governor desired from for completion of remaining work within the stipulated timeframe. Not only that the LG also used term “stake holders” which ofcourse included the those driving vehicles/ travelling in vehicles.
But surely the first responsibilities lies on the government machinery engaged in inspection, management of the ‘healthy transport’ units/ infrastructure and enforcement of rules/ regulations for ensuring society friendly traffic on roads for which he in a way talked of even the importance of ensuring ‘healthy’ hands’ for steering the wheels. It has been a healthy note to learn that traffic police has given a start to active use of CCTV cameras for regulation of traffic and control on the defaulters since early 2023.
Issues related to smooth and safe flow of traffic in cities & on highways have always been of concern. Earlier also Dr Arun Kumar Mehta Chief Secretary J&K ( himself a research scholar in the field of engineering) had suggested (10th June 2022 ) to officers of civil & police administration to on priority devise a better traffic management plan possibly in two weeks with a scientific approach keeping in view so common prevalent menace of unauthorized parking on roads, identification of needed parking places, optimum utilization of available parking spaces, utilization of men & machinery efficiently, erecting barriers & diversions after proper care / scientific study, enforcement of traffic rules.
No doubt observance of traffic rules/ regulations matter the same way for cities as they matter for highways. But some specifics for cities could be somewhat different than the highways / roads. Let us take a brief on city traffic related requirements, more particularly for a city like Jammu with extra heavy population of vehicles.
The works for installation of CCTV cameras and control systems had been taken in hand in J&K also more particularly after 2000 but it has been seriously under consideration of the government since 2010 only. Atleast now in Jammu city the Traffic department must be appreciated for having drawn out active plans to use CCTVs circuits for regulation of traffic and enforcement of rules.
A very particular & significant but very less talked about feature of vehicular traffic that causes slow movement of traffic in cities like Jammu and can become cause of accidents after sunset is violation of motor vehicles rules related to lights fitted on the vehicle & their use for no sunlight /night travel. To make the traffic flow on roads faster and make others to drive stress free ( particularly senior citizens ) during late evenings/ nights the use of dipper as a routine & no installation of prohibited dazzling lights / headlights need be enforced very very strictly. As regards fitting of the lights/ headlights the role of Regional Transport Officers / Asstt. Regional Transport Officers is very very important since “bad’/ prohibited lights could be removed even at the time of passing / registration of vehicles and while on roads by RTO authorities but that is not atall being done for checking violation of Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 Notification S.O. No. 873 (E) dated. 15.12.1997, item No. 20, of Ministry of Surface Transport ( Safety Standards No. 15.1 [ like .4.3 Headlight – A lighting device providing an upper and/or a lower beam used for providing illumination forward of vehicle. 4.5 Meeting beam or lower beam or low beam – Beam illuminating only a specified limited part of the road, in order to reduce the dazzle for an observer approaching ahead of the vehicle. 5.2 The position of headlights on the vehicle shall be as per Rule No. 105 (3) of CMVR , The Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 106. Deflection of lights (1) No lamp showing a light to the front shall be used on any motor vehicle including construction equipment vehicle (whether fitted with single or dual head lamp) unless such lamp is so constructed, fitted and maintained that the beam of light emitted therefrom- is permanently deflected downwards to such an extent that it is not capable of dazzling any person whose eye position is,- (A) at a distance of 8 metres from the front of lamp, 111. Prohibition of spot lights, etc. No spot light or search light shall be carried on the front of any vehicle except in exceptional circumstances with the prior approval of the registering authority. But prohibited / dazzling lights have become almost regular fitment on vehicles and it could be inferred that both the traffic police as well as RTO/ MVD authorities appear taking almost no notice of so serious a violation. They can take help of CCTV Cameras also.
In seminars/ workshops / public meetings main reasons for any traffic jams / slow traffic / accidents’ in a city like Jammu are quoted as increasing number of local vehicles & limited surface road facilities available, unplanned /slow road repair works being conducted during day time and vehicle owners not observing traffic regulations. No doubt the irregular and in disciplined traffic does add to accidents & slow movement of traffic, but damage that is done by violations done by the two wheeler drivers to other commuters when they drive without helmet/ with more than two riders/ using mobile phone held between one’s neck & shoulder by unduly involving others also in accident could surely be unfair/ imposed. This aspect need be particularly kept in focus by traffic police now when CCTV cameras have been installed.
As regards traffic rules related to zebra crossing , bearing of helmets, pillion riding, signal lights, seat belt, use of mobile phones while driving, public transport vehicles observing discipline as regards parking/drivers bearing uniform & seat belt, making ‘smoking’ vehicles off road etc, etc it can be hoped that since now the CCTV cameras are said to have been put in active use for traffic regulation in 2023 the offenders will surely & regularly / be questioned/ challaned and the traffic police on roads will be relieved of some load.
Need for occasional belt check nakas / phone check nakas/ helmet check nakas ( particularly on crossings / chowks) is hoped for reduction now after installation of CCTVs in cities like Jammu and can add to more smooth flow with reduced check nakas near the crossings and odd places atleast during peak hours.
The shortfalls / deficiencies like a few discussed here in if managed with some more ‘commitment’ would surely help in making roads more free flowing and safe without spending additional money by government.
Good the Traffic police at occasions comes out with press releases as regards the vehicles challaned during a period but it would be more revealing in case the press releases also give brief as regards the numbers on class of vehicle challaned i.e two wheelers. Auto rickshaws, private cars , government cars, mini-busses, load carriers, busses, trucks etc.
(The author is Sr. Journalist & leading scribe on Kashmir affairs [email protected]).