Mumbai: The Mumbai Traffic Police collected record fines totalling nearly Rs 139 crore in 2018 for violations of traffic rules, according to an RTI filing here on Tuesday.
This figure is much higher compared to the Rs 8.6 crore collected in 2017, said RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge, and the credit for this goes to the 'e-challan' system implemented by the Mumbai Traffic Police in a big way.
"This technology - whereby an officer can simply issue an 'e-challan' from his mobile phone - has not only reduced corruption on the roads, but resulted in a massive collection of fines for the government coffers," Ghadge told IANS.
Interestingly, the RTI also revealed that the number of drunk driving cases have considerably decreased since the past three years. While there were 20,768 such cases in 2016, it came down to 18,056 in 2017 and then 11,711 in 2018.
Shockingly, in the same period, the number of teenagers caught in drunk driving cases was 1,854 while 367 women were nabbed for drunk driving. However, Ghadge said the Mumbai Traffic Police suspended licences in only 14 per cent of the total cases, and penalties have been collected from the remaining violators.
Accordingly, from 2015 till July 2019, there were a total of 77,455 cases of drunk driving in Mumbai, but the licences of only 10,702 offenders have been suspended, as per the RTI figures.
"The figures clearly reveal that Mumbaikars are quite an indisciplined lot while driving on roads and even hefty fines/penalties don't act as a deterrent. Since time is more valuable than money for Mumbaikars, brief periods of detention (jail) or community services, as prevalent in some advanced countries, could teach them a lesson," Ghadge said.
Similarly, the problem of drunk driving must be dealt with more strictly rather than just collecting fines and letting off the offenders without punishment, he said.
Ghadge says that the traffic police must consider suspension of driving licence in every drunk driving case, go after the offenders from bars and pubs when they start driving instead of relying on the usual roadblocks ('naka-bandi') to catch them.