AS A measure to curtail accidents, an ‘invisible police force’ will nab traffic offenders on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, said a traffic police official on Wednesday.
Since last week, 66 officials of a ‘spotter team’ have been stationed at various points on the expressway to nab repeat violators of the traffic rules. The policemen, who will be stationed at various posts on the expressway, will pass on the vehicle details of erring drivers to police officials at the check posts and they would be subsequently challaned, the official said.
“The police officials are called invisible as they would not be immediately seen by the commuters and they will only direct the message forward.
Through this method, we want to generate fear among commuters that someone is watching over them and also instill road discipline. If any of the rules is violated, we will make sure that they are fined appropriately for the offence. If they refuse to pay, a court order will automatically reach their home later,” said R K Padmanabhan, Additional Director General of Police (Traffic).
Till Wednesday, close to 1,300 cases have been registered against erring drivers from whom almost Rs 59,800 have been recovered as fine.
The traffic policemen — comprising six officers and 60 constables — will be posted at six spots to conduct random checks on the road which will serve in reduction of accidents on the expressway, the official said.
Also, fitness certificates of over-dimensional carriers will be checked on a regular basis to ensure a boost among renewal of their certificates. Considering brakes failure and tyre punctures to be the biggest reasons of causing jams on the expressway, checking fitness of over-size vehicles which use up a lot of road space will remain the aim, the official said.
“These 10 per cent vehicles which stop at various points on the expressway create traffic jams for the other 90 per cent vehicles on the road. We want to ensure that fitness of such vehicles is checked so that the traffic on the expressway is not affected. Our aim is to at least catch 1,000 offenders on the expressway in a day to make this practice more useful,” Padmanabhan said.
The traffic officials are also coming up with a scheme, ‘Golden Hours’, on the weekend which will prevent the movement of three-axle and multi-axle vehicles on the expressway. This, they say, will reduce jams on the expressway.
“From 5 pm till 8 pm on Friday evenings, and 4 am to 8 am on Saturday morning, the movement of multi-axle and three-axle vehicles will be restricted. Also, from 4 pm to 8 pm on Sunday evening and 6 am to 9 am on Monday morning, their movement will remain shut. By compromising the movement of these vehicles, we will ensure the movement of the other smaller vehicles which constitute the larger share remains smooth during peak hours,” Padmanabhan added.
The experiment was done in the last two weekends which had a positive effect on the movement, the official said. According to official figures, out of a total count of one billion vehicles between April and August, multi-axles and three-axles vehicles only make up for the eight lakhs of the vehicles on the expressway, while 20 lakh are other types, including cars, trucks and buses.
“Due to a minor problem in a large vehicle last week, almost 800 vehicles were restricted on the expressway. Though this move is unfavorable to the drivers of large-size vehicles, it is good for the entire vehicular movement on the expressway. Our aim is zero tolerance and ensuring no single traffic jam in the next six months,” he added.
Officials said they are also planning to have LED boards at food plazas and major traffic points which will serve as indicators of the oncoming jams on the expressway. Officials believe that if the system works well on the expressway, it will work on any other road as well.