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Bengaluru: Road rules thrown to wind as traffic police face staff crunch

Bengaluru Traffic Police
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Bengaluru Traffic Police

Highlights

The Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP) has been facing a staff crunch, making them helpless in regulating vehicular movements on city roads

Bengaluru: The Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP) has been facing a staff crunch, making them helpless in regulating vehicular movements on city roads. The city has only 4,638 traffic police personnel for a vehicle population of over 80 lakhs. The 'Most Traffic Congested City' in the country was almost deserted due to Covid-19 lockdown.

But as a consequence of easing of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the number of traffic violations in Bengaluru has shot up. According to reports from September 13 to 26 alone, the BTP collected nearly Rs 4.5 crore as fines from violators.

This number of traffic violation cases in a few days is very close compared to 1,52,406 cases recorded in a week by Bengaluru police in 2019.

A total of 79,25,134 violations were recorded in 2019, while in 2018 the number was 82,74,663. Till August 2020, traffic police had recorded 4,39,1370 violations. "After the Coronavirus outbreak, people thought that BTP has stopped slapping classes and the number of road users who drive carelessly was high those days. But our CCTV's at junctions across Bengaluru were working," a senior traffic police officer said.

The reports claim that 55,717 traffic violations were noted between September 20 and 26, over 53 per cent of those were for not wearing helmets. The trend remained the same from September 13 to 19 as well with 26,590 of the total 48,141 violations falling under the same bracket. In total, the BTP has collected around Rs 2.2 crore alone from people failing to wear head protective gear while riding two-wheelers in the city in the last two weeks.

Bengaluru Traffic Police had stopped physically enforcing traffic rules and collecting fines since March, fearing Covid-19 infection. Traffic challans were sent remotely to offenders who were caught on camera in some busy junctions of the city. The fines have been collected for offences ranging across reckless driving, over speeding, jumping signals, riding without helmets and parking in non-parking zones, among others. Drinking and driving is not counted as part of these, as fines for the offence are to be paid in court.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy towards wheeling. 148 cases have been booked and bikes seized. Riders, bike-owners, and owners of garages modifying silencers have been arrested. Cases are being pursued seriously in courts," said, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant.

As per data, till the end of June, a total of 309 persons have been killed in road accidents in 2020 in Bengaluru. The death toll for 2019, 2018 and 2017 were 766, 684 and 642 respectively for the entire year.

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