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Beyond Fines: One for the Road Safety

My first report card
Today I violated a traffic rule by talking on the phone while on the road. And the vigilant traffic police on duty caught me red-handed. I knew it coming. This is my first offense since I obtained the legal documents that allow me to sit behind the wheel.

The man in uniform took my bluebook and my driving license. I requested the policeman and said that it was my fault for using the phone while driving and I repetitively promised I would not repeat again. The man did not hear me. He was busy scribbling down my offense and instead handed me a yellow slip. And knowing that I would be wasting my energy pleading him I drove home with my first driving report card.

But it was a good experience getting caught and having to pay for the blunder. “Expect the unexpected” reads a signboard a few meters away from where I got caught. And getting caught unexpectedly made me reflect on some pertinent issues.

As drivers, we must not bear any grudge against those men in uniform for they are simply carrying out their duty just like us in our own fields. I certainly have no ill feelings against the traffic police, who caught me today. Instead he earned my respect today! We must understand things can go wrong at times. Yes, expect the unexpected! Unpleasant incidents, unfortunate at that, happen all the time. We hear a series of unfortunate road accidents and yet we think these unpleasant incidents are not meant for us. Experts also have us believe that these accidents could have been averted if people involved in them were more careful. Most accidents are manifestations of human errors and seldom mechanic failures. Human life is precious, we say all the time. We must take appropriate safety measures to protect it until it lasts. That’s why we traffic police to remind us!

However, of late I was told that these men in uniform are on fine-collecting spree! Yes, this means no amount of excuse or request would help. If we were at fault the traffic police would simply demand our “documents” and hand us the receipts. This means no excuse! I don’t know how far it is true – some senior officials are said to admonish traffic policemen if the fines they collect during the day is not substantial. What does it show? It seems to us that the authorities are concerned more about the fines than the road or the passengers’ safety.

As human beings we make mistakes and I think that’s expected. But when we talk of driving I think we must look beyond fines for collecting fines is not only the solution.

Is collecting fines same as generating revenues? I don't know. I only know that collecting my documents now entails more than the actual fine I contribute to the government exchequer! 

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