State highway police booked 1.45 lakh violators till April this year, but only suspended 1 licence

Mumbai: Even as several states have diluted or kept on hold the implementation of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019 (which came into force on September on the grounds that the fines are exorbitant and a burden on motorists, the trend of traffic offences in Maharashtra in just the first four months of the year show that the existing fines are hardly a deterrent to violators.

As many as 3.30 lakh motorists have been caught flouting traffic rules in the first four months of this year. Significantly, almost half of these offences were reported in Mumbai alone and shockingly, only one licence has been suspended, for the use of mobile phone while driving, reveals data obtained from the state highway police. Speeding was the most common violation, with 71,796 people being held and fined. Other offences include drunk driving and jumping signals on the highways crisscrossing the state.

Adjoining Navi Mumbai has been more diligent when it comes to clamping down on traffic violators, recording 8,830 traffic violations in the corresponding period and suspending 2,369 licences. Thane recorded 19,000 traffic violations and suspended 1,557 licences.

Mumbai also tops the list of traffic violations among the 47 police districts in the state. Second on the list is Pimpri-Chinchwad, with 38,542 violations and the chief minister's home town, Nagpur City is third, with 25,309 violations.

A senior state highway police official said, the traffic violations are on the rise thanks to the e-challan system. Explaining his stand, the official said, in this system, the violator is sent an e-challan after they are caught in the act on CCTV cameras, which have the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) feature.

The amended MV Act imposes stiff fines on errant motorists to ensure compliance with traffic rules. Maharashtra is likely to implement the amended MV Act after the assembly election. This amendment to the Act, increasing penalties for multiple violations of traffic rules has not gone down well with the people and several state governments, including the BJP-led ones in Gujarat and Karnataka, have either diluted or proposed to dilute the law or put it on hold.

This Act was a pet policy decision of Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. He said the idea behind the hefty fines was to bring discipline in road traffic, which would help save many lives. However, currently, there is a backlash from the state as well as the central governments but neither the Bharatiya Janata Party nor anyone from the Modi government has defended Nitin Gadkari.

District: Mumbai city

Speeding 71,796

Sent for RTO suspension: 0

Using Mobile phone while driving: 13,755

Sent for RTO suspension: 1

Carrying passengers in goods vehicles: 168

Sent for RTO suspension: 0

Jumping red signal: 54,199

Sent for RTO suspension: 0

Drunken driving: 5,541

Sent for RTO suspension: 0

Clandestine Operations (Illicit Cases): 0

Sent for RTO suspension: 0

Total cases: 1,45,459

Total Suspension: 1

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