Traffic Discipline By: Engr G R Bhatti
The discipline is one of the teachings of Islam. Without discipline, human beings are prone to wrongdoing. A child is especially vulnerable to such tendencies for he lacks the wisdom and maturity of an adult. It is easier and more pleasant to follow the dictates of the soul. To follow what is right, morally and logically, requires a firm will. This does not come automatically to a child, but can be developed through discipline.
The spirit and reality of the disciplines of Islam dictate that every individual must take the rules, regulations and convention of laws that he follows, which are related to both the individual and the society, from the Divine Source.
We know that Islam teaches us how to regulate our behavior and conduct in all aspects i.e. our actions, sayings, conduct, attitude and behavior so that we become disciplined individuals, families, and societies and finally the Nation.
Let us take the example of rules of prayer. Before starting the prayer, the Imam asks people for lines in straight rows, it is discipline and when he says Allah Akbar, all followers say Allah Akbar, it is discipline. When Imam bows down, all bow down, it is discipline. When he stands flat, all stands flat, it is discipline and when he says Assalamu Alaikum wa Rehmatullah all say Assalamu Alaikum wa Rehmatullah, it is discipline.
Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of the Nation’s quote “Unity, Faith, Discipline” was the guide line for us, which has been totally ignored and resultantly we lost the right path.
The irony is that we think that the discipline is not applicable because we are born free and there should be no binding on what so ever and thus Boo-boos starts from here.
In order to discipline ourselves, it is my considered opinion that if in the first phase, we discipline our traffic system, major problems and fuss will be over and accidents cut near to zero. But the catastrophe is that our elite class as well as some sections of cops themselves do not abide by the rules. Hence these rules cannot be enforced effectively. If one is to read the law covering the road discipline it reads as under:
Clause 31 of Police Act 1861, quote,
“Police to keep order in public road, etc. It shall be the duty of the police to keep order on the public roads, and in the public streets, thoroughfares, ghats and landing-places, and at all other places of public resort, and to prevent obstructions on the occasions of assemblies and processions on the public roads and in the and in any case when any road, street, thoroughfare, ghat or landing-place may be thronged or may be liable to be obstructed”, unquote.
Can anyone say that the Act is being implemented? If not why?
We do not follow lane discipline, nor, we do have sense regarding zebra crossing, pedestrian crossing, or, the right of way at roundabout. At Railway Stations, Bus Stops, Air Ports, School, Office or Park etc we feel disgraced and degraded if have to make a queue or follow the lane discipline.
Perhaps, it is our creed that nothing is applicable on Pakistan, or, as if the rules are for lesser mortals. In daily routine, we over take from wrong side without feeling shame and do not follow the speed limit. People have no idea how much distance is to be maintained between vehicles while driving. They start flashing lights in day or night, as a practice of habit or use high beams at night without a regard to the oncoming driver, blinding him with the light. Nor do the idea as to where the car horn is to be used and where it is to be avoided, is known to the people driving on the road. Is seat belt necessary, should it be used? Again, people have little idea. There is such apathy and ignorance visible on the road that it is appalling. The behavior on the roads is reflective of life in general. This ignorance is not limited to common drivers only.
The community of Motorbike riders drive casually without helmet, mirror or any document and try to grate and irritate the car or heavy traffic drivers and consequently result in accidents. There is minimum percentage which know or follow the traffic signals and line, lane or queue and our police watch helplessly or let go against some graft.
How can the present road anarchy be overcome? How can it be controlled?
Following are some of the suggestions:
The Traffic Sergeant should be located before Signal for guidance and not after the signal hiding like hunters because daily targets of challans are fixed with incentive of share money. Often checking is done on ramps and bridges causing hurdle in traffic which should be avoided.
No doubt there are few black sheep in police, but the common man is obstinate to malign the traffic police for wrong deeds but do not think of own character. There should be uniform policy for the top to the bottom, richest to poorest and elite to common man as adopted by civilized nations, and that the traffic should not be stopped for any motorcade who-so-ever.
The road humps created to slow down the traffic are created irregularly and without a reason. The road conditions are also bad due to disrepair. The speed breakers should not be installed on main roads and where required be constructed as per standard formula. The bumpy roads result in slow speed, more fuel consumption means more pollution as well as loss of time and money i.e. exorbitant burden of foreign currency on national exchequer due to import of additional oil. These should be taken care of.
The change in the mindset, temperament, attitude and character of the law enforcing agencies is required instead of alteration in dress or cap.
For inducing discipline in traffic, each provincial government should form a committee to formulate the do able Traffic Discipline Policy, keeping in view local conditions instead of copy-paste with the clear terms of reference. The committee if deem fit may also include the following points.
One-week awareness campaign to follow and obey the traffic rules should be devised and publicized through print and electronic media and implemented physically on ground without exception and discretion as it leads to corruption.
CCTV cameras should be installed on every nook and corner of roads and streets and at some intervals on main roads for identification of drivers violating rules and for fixing the responsibility of accidents and street crimes. The cost can be recovered one time @ Rs.100 from each vehicle on road. iii. Since the Traffic Police is not well trained for proper implementation of traffic laws, rules and regulation as such different selected personnel from all provinces belonging to police group should be imparted training in developed countries, who then conduct training to all traffic staff.
The provincial governments should appoint Justices of peace with the approval of the names from High Courts to check the police for working with dedication and honesty.
Often the cops violate one way rules and traffic signals, if found, they should be heavily finned and penalized. vi. Concept of fast, medium and slow moving traffic should be implemented in letter and spirit.
The bottlenecks in flow of traffic and clear access to pedestrians including generators on footpath, electric and telephone poles, unauthorized parking by shopping malls, wedding banquets & halls, road blocks by encroachers, road side vendors, building materials etc be removed in conjunction with provincial government and local administration.
Till awareness, there should be some arrangement of stopping the traffic at zebra crossing and signals by placing barricades or curb or by force to establish the writ of traffic police and in the event of violation, heavy fine should be imposed. Wrong side driving should be discouraged and penalized on all roads – main or sub main.
Parking on main roads should be strictly prohibited and double parking should not be allowed in any case on roads and streets where permitted.
Fancy lights and siren like police and ambulance should be strictly prohibited.
The traffic police should be allowed to take action against the street criminals and register FIR under Police Act 1861. All measures be taken and all powers be exercised to force the public for crossing the road on zebra crossing or pedestrian crossing or through overhead bridges only. Standing instruction be issued for cleaning roads during night only. Any development or maintenance works must not be allowed during the rush hours
Other points to look after are:
For setting up the example, traffic rules should first be demonstrated by traffic police so that sprit is infused in the general public.
The provincial governments should issue instructions to Building Control Authorities for approval of only those building plans where proper arrangement of parking is provided.
During driving unnecessary horn, music and telephone should be banned.
Pan spitting should be strictly prohibited on roads and walls and be declared as convictable offence as it makes the look very ugly.
Dual arrangements to be made by Electric Utility for Street lights so that roads and streets are always lightened during night to avoid any accident and recognize the street criminals through the help of CCTV Cameras. The pay structure should be commensurate to duties and timings of traffic police as incentive to avoid corrupt practices.