Saturday, March 20, 1999
THERE were times when a stork nestling around your house meant impending danger.
The crane coming to Chandigarh could also mean something.
Traffic on Indian roads is at best chaotic. Simply because no rules or regulations are observed. Signs that are put up for a very definite purpose and at a great expense to the administration are wilfully ignored. People are of the impression that signs are to be ignored. Either that or drivers simply dont know what a sign means.
Before your car gets craned away, lets do some home work.
Signs fall into three categories mandatory, regulatory and informative.
Mandatory, must be obeyed. The police has been given authority to enforce these laws. It means challans, fines, possible imprisonment.
The mandatory signs are a result of people not exercising any common sense. A total lack of discipline, a total disregard for rules and regulations, the law. In any other country, Indian driving habits would be considered anti-social behaviour. People park their cars length wise in a parking lot, blocking the exit of may be three vehicles. Simply bad manners. But its done all the time.
As my friend Nirmal says, "People in India dont park, they just stop!" A brilliant observation and so true.
So there are "Parking" signs and equally important "No Parking" signs. They help the flow of traffic, they keep the city looking neat and clean, uncluttered. Badly parked vehicles means congestion, confusion and ultimately chaos. Check out the Delhi traffic for your self. In a few years it may be faster to walk in Delhi than drive!
Chapter XIII of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, deals with offences, penalties and procedure.
Clause 177 deals with general provision for punishment of offences. The first sentence reads: "Whoever contravenes any provision of this act or of any rule, regulation etc ".
Clause 179 reads "Disobedience of orders, obstruction and refusal of information - "Whoever wilfully disobeys any direction etc. etc ..".
Both "Stop" and "No Parking" signs are mandatory signs of the first schedule of the Motor Vehicle Act. You must obey them.
A few years ago when Stop signs were first put up in Chandigarh, citizens were up in arms. Why do we need them?
You need them because when joining a major road you may meet traffic, moving faster and possibly much longer.
A large vehicle, travelling fast, if it hits any thing can inflict an enormous amount of damage.
Common sense and strong sense of well being should tell you not to pull out in front of a vehicle.
It is common sense to come to a dead halt (the law requires that), shift into first gear, look right, left, right again then move out into the major road.
And you always give priority to vehicles on your right hand side. Think about it. It makes sense. And it is the law. All laws are made for the protection, safety and well being of you and all other road users.
Please pay attention. It is you, the driver, who causes traffic jams, accidents and other chaos on the roads. Only you can put an end to it.
Drive properly, carefully, sensibly and see what fun motoring can be.
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