Since the day I have become a part of the media profession, I didn’t come across a single day without having to write a news report on an accident caused by careless drivers. The people who witness such incidents mostly say, “Where are the police? Why aren’t they doing their duty properly?”
After being a victim of a minor accident myself, I now know there’s nothing beyond lawful action and the spread of awareness that police can do.
On several occasions, while returning home or going for some work via Jalukbari, I have seen a magic van attempting to escape whenever a police vehicle appears to avoid the imposition of fines as they stopped their vehicles to pick up passengers at an unauthorized stoppage. While fleeing from police they hardly notice if anyone is there in front of their vehicle.
On the evening of April 17, as usual, I was heading home after getting off the bus at Jalukbari Bus Stop. I was walking on the side of the road towards the highway near Lachit Barphukan Park and was going to pass a parked magic van that stopped his vehicle to pick up passengers. When the driver saw a police vehicle coming from the other side crossing the road towards the highway, he attempted to flee like usual, however, in that process, he didn’t bother to notice that I was going to pass his vehicle to go on the side of the road.
He didn’t press the horn, due to which I was unaware of the vehicle's movement; the vehicle then hit me on my left hand. Even after hitting, the driver didn’t bother to hit the break of the vehicle. The driver was more focused on escaping from the police to avoid fines for parking at an unauthorized spot.
The police vehicle from whom he was attempting to flee saw him and chased his vehicle by overtaking him. He was then asked to get off the magic van so that lawful action could be taken against him.
It was only due to the police’s prompt action that he couldn’t flee. I was fortunate enough to not sustain any injury except a little pain following the incident.
After a while, the traffic police arrived at the scene and took the vehicle away to impose a fine on him for driving the vehicle dangerously.
After reaching home, I took to Twitter to let the higher officials know about the incident and how fatal it could have been if I was in front of the vehicle or if should I feel safe enough to walk through that road to head home.
Assam Director General of Police GP Singh was quick enough to respond to my concern and ordered action against the driver.
To enquire about the incident, on April 18, I visited the Jalukbari Traffic Outpost to know the status of the action taken against the culprit driver to which, the police officials informed me that action has been initiated against him.
While interacting with the police, one of them said that there power is limited and they can only impose a fine or warn the drivers engaged in rash driving on roads.
Almost every day, police receive information regarding road accidents, and traffic violations, among others. But, despite warnings given to the drivers, they hardly are being noticed to follow the traffic guidelines. Moreover, I can challenge saying that they hardly care or are bothered about others' lives on roads. “Hello, at least love yourself first”.
Guwahati along with the rest of the cities in Assam and India is experiencing an extreme heat conditions these days. There are media reports claiming that in a few parts of the country, people are dying of heat stroke, following which, the concerned governments of those regions were compelled to close down schools for a few days or weeks.
Amidst this heat condition, traffic police officials are directly exposed to the sun, they are bound to keep a watch on vehicular movements in order to avoid any kind of untoward incidents on the roads.
Not only this, traffic police vans also keep a strict vigil on drivers of both commercial and private vehicles driving in an inebriated state. I am not trying to glorify police officials, this is their duty, thus, if any drivers are caught driving in an inebriated state, they are immediately stopped at the spot and fined for any kind of violations.
However, a section of drivers seemed to be adamant and they don’t bother about the presence of any traffic police personnel. A few of them also take the advantage of the limited power allotted to the traffic police personnel, they know that the police will not take laws into their hands other than imposing fines.
Recently, I came across CCTV footage of a local journalist being run over by a speedy city bus. The video was so horrible that I couldn’t continue to watch it further. The driver immediately fled the scene after causing the accident.
The incident occurred on April 12 and the FIR was lodged at Basistha Police Station on April 17. The police summoned both the driver and owner of the passenger bus to the police station.
While interacting with a police official further, he revealed they had imposed fines on several vehicles including both private and commercial, to which in maximum cases, the owners have to pay. They have imposed a fine amounting to Rs. 70-80 thousand on such vehicles.
The driver barely faces any charges until and unless a criminal case is lodged against them.
The police or the public cannot attack these careless drivers; thus, the concerned citizens raise their voices on social media alleging why they get bound or get carried away to take the law into their hands.
These incidents made me bound to think about whether it is justified to put the entire blame on the police regarding the incidents that are taking place around the city.
I do urge the persons sitting in the driving seat to be more careful while driving on roads, what if their close ones get hospitalized in a road accident after being hit by another vehicle driven by a careless driver?