In Pakistan, traffic rules and laws are just like expiry dates on eatables; we know that they exist but hardly many pay attention to them. Previously we have seen, motorbike drivers have taken the lead in championing the infringement of traffic rules and laws, but it doesn’t mean that other vehicle owners don’t love to live dangerously.
Many living in Pakistan are actually judged for following the traffic rules rather than breaking them. To curb the practice of violating traffic laws, Lahore Police is reportedly going to increase the challan fee by 30 percent or more. A senior official shared that discussions are going on a concrete plan may take some time.
Meaning instead of getting a Rs. 500 fine for over speeding in your fancy new car, you would be charged Rs. 650. Same goes for motorcycle drivers who would be fined Rs. 260 for over speeding from now on, Rs. 390 for violating age limit, Rs. 260 for driving without a helmet and so on.
The Lahore Traffic Police is also said to introduce a point system to battle the problem of infringement of traffic laws. According to this system, the driver would be appointed some demerit points whenever they’ll break a certain traffic law.
So, if a person ran a red light, he/she will receive a point(s) on their record and if he/she refuse to mend their ways, after a certain number of points their driving license would be suspended.
The number of points may vary depending on the severity of the crime. This system is not unheard of in the world as it gives the driver ample time to recognize the importance of following traffic rules.
Also, Lahore Police would grant a chance to drivers to dismiss the appointed points by doing some community service. In this way, they’ll help the society and would understand that breaking the law (even if it’s a small one) leads to consequences that one, just can’t run away from (no matter how fast your car is).
Lahore is no stranger to long queues of traffic where after five it’s hard to get to your desired destination in time. The Metro Bus and Speedo Buses have somehow eased the burden of traffic, but still many found themselves stuck in a car for more than an hour on a daily basis.
In such situations, many forget all about the traffic laws and break a few of them just to reach home in time. With the introduction of this new system, it is likely that people will think twice about breaking the traffic rules.
Lahore is also witnessing the initiation of smart traffic system with the installments of the e-challan system that can send the person an electronic copy of their challan and photographic evidence of their violations.
Also under the Safe City Project, the smart traffic system will enable better management of vehicles on roads and would likely reduce the need of traffic wardens on every corner of the road.
One major concern that arises from the increase in the challan fee is the possible increase in corruption especially bribery. The events of Police accepting bribes openly on roads is not uncommon in our country. We have seen even the elite Dolphin Force collecting bribes from people.
In the case the fines for breaking the traffic laws are increased, people would be willing to pay a small amount to traffic warden rather than paying a full amount to the government. The e-challan system would probably curb this practice but its till has miles to go.
The high-tech ANPR cameras cannot read number plates on vehicles. Looking at this situation, the Punjab government is going to replace plates of around 4 million vehicles in Lahore. The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) have already revealed the new design of the number plate that can be detected by the cameras.