Change Process of Traffic Police Action on Road Accidents
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Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, India.
I am writing to you in the capacity of a tax-paying citizen of India who holds a driving license and has been driving for thirteen years. I am extremely disappointed at the process followed by the Traffic police to take action on minor road accidents (which result in damage to the vehicles, not to people).
My car has been the victim of several such accidents in Bengaluru, and whenever I have called the Traffic police to inform that another vehicle has hit my car, I am always told to come to the nearest Traffic police station with my car. This allows the offender to run away. When I reached the Traffic police station even with the vehicle-number of the offender, I was told to leave my car there for RTO inspection, and there was no certain time-frame provided by when the RTO inspection will be done – it may be done within a day or even a week.
This is Not Acceptable, due to the following reasons:
1) The offender is moving freely with his vehicle and license, and can do more such offences.
2) The victim has to face the inconvenience of leaving his/ her vehicle at the Traffic police station and is not given any definite date by when he/ she will get the vehicle back after RTO inspection. So he/ she is being doubly punished here – first, the damage on his/ her vehicle; second, the inconvenience of not being able to drive. However, it should actually be the offender who’s vehicle and license should be immediately seized, so that he/ she cannot commit more offences.
3) The FIR process should be helpful, convenient and less time-consuming for the victim, but it has been designed to be more convenient for the Traffic police, and it ends up helping the offender.
In many such cases, the victim ends up dropping the complaint because there is no definite time-frame provided by the Traffic police for RTO action/ resolution, and because of fear of losing more parts of the car while it is kept outside the police station, accessible to miscreants on the street. Working-class people are pressed for time, and have to return to work. This results in the Following Problems for the victim:
1) The victim has to bear the cost of the repair or ask his/ her insurance company to pay for it, when it should actually be the insurance of the offender which should be paying for it.
2) The next insurance premium payment of the victim goes high due to this and he/ she cannot obtain a “no-claim bonus”.
3) The offender gets encouragement to continue driving rashly due to no punishment.
I would like to request a Change in Process of Action from Traffic Police to make it Civilian Friendly:
1) The victim should call the Traffic police at the accident site and wait there, following which a traffic policeman should come to the site (rather than asking the victim to come with his/ her vehicle to the Traffic police station). A complaint should be raised against the police if they refuse to help.
2) The Traffic policeman should seize the license of the offender and call a tow-truck to tow the offender’s vehicle. It will be easier to deduce who is at fault on the site, by looking at both vehicles.
3) After taking statements of both the victim and the offender, and any proofs required for an FIR in the form of photographs, the victim should be allowed to leave and take the vehicle for repair to the service-station so that the cost of repair can also be obtained, which the offender’s insurance should pay for. Online FIR should be done on-the-spot via a hand-held device by the policeman.
4) Traffic police should be given commission for proactively catching common law-breakers, e.g., driving without a helmet, jumping red lights, entering wrong-way, violating right-of-way, etc.
I have also driven in developed countries such as the United States of America and France, and this is the process which they follow. I was also the victim of such an accident in the United States where we called a policeman who came and seized the license as well as vehicle of the offender, and let me go after taking my statement. That process was much more impressively helpful than what I have to face in Bengaluru, where the road-tax is the highest in the country and so we expect quick resolution.
Hence, my request is that this small change in process where – a) the Traffic policeman comes to the site rather than asking the victim to bring his/ her vehicle to the Traffic police station, and, b) the license and vehicle of the offender are seized rather than holding the victim’s vehicle – will go a long way in establishing better governance by helping victims of road accidents who have to bear the cost of damage done to their vehicles, and in disciplining of rash-driving miscreants so that offences can be minimized.
Copy To: Mr. P. Radhakrishnan, Minister of State for Transport
Copy To: Mr. Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka
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