Wrong side driving is, unfortunately, a common phenomenon in India. This rampant habit is so abundant that one can spot people driving on the wrong side of the road even on national highways. While the Indian laws prohibit driving on the wrong side of the road, the people who usually are held by traffic police get away easily by paying small fines or bribes. However, in an example setting judgement, six persons on Wednesday were sentenced to two days in prison for riding their two-wheelers on the wrong side of the road and obstructing traffic. The offenders were caught last week by the Bowenpally police’s law and order wing. According to a report by NIE, the decision was taken by the 14th Special MM Court.
Interestingly, the violators were also fined but the amount to be paid was a mere Rs. 50 each. Speaking on the same, Hyderabad city commissioner Anjani Kumar told reporters that they were taking such traffic offences seriously as they had been the reason of several fatalities. He said:
It was the first time that violators of wrong side driving rule were being sentenced to imprisonment in city. The police were viewing such violations seriously now since there were several instances of wrong side driving violations leading to fatal accidents in the city. The Law and Order police too was assisting the Traffic police in cracking down on such violations,
The North Zone DCP added:
We have identified where people are most likely to take a wrong route to dodge traffic. We will penalise offenders as such acts could cause accidents.
The violators were found guilty of obstructing traffic under Section 21/76 of the Hyderabad City Police Act. These six people were caught in different areas during the month of July between 17th and the 22nd. The areas where the traffic violators were found were under the jurisdiction of the Bowenpally police. According to the report, over 1,05,346 individuals were issued challans for driving on the wrong side in the first six months of 2019. This is a 115 per cent increase in the number of such offenders when compared to last year’s data.
To let you know, the traffic police generally uses Section 119 and 177 of the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act to penalise people for driving on the wrong side of the road. Under the section, the offenders have to pay a challan of Rs 1,100. The police also use Section 21/76 of the Hyderabad Police Act (charges of obstructing traffic) which allows for people to be jailed for obstructing traffic and the same is the case here.
Driving on the wrong side of the road not only puts you in the way of danger but also a lot of other people who are following traffic rules. Wrong side driving has been cities as one of the primary reasons for road casualties in India and hence the administration is taking steps to discourage individuals from doing it. Also, the Lok Sabha recently passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill that will change various statutes and clauses of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.
Apart from proposing stricter fines and penalties, the offenders can also be asked to perform community service as punishment or take a driver refresher training course for those whose licenses lapse. The fines of several offences like rash driving and driving without license ha been increased to Rs. 5,000 while a few others like drunk driving and not providing a way for emergency vehicles now attracts a fine of Rs. 10,000.