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How to make citizens follow rules.

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On Several threads i have been noticing each time there has been a reference of law enforcement or regulation some one or the other comes around and tells us stories about how regulation and laws are not going to work. (sigh!)
Look here, we are a part of the same system that you are complaining about.
So if you want the system to change each one has to make a small contribution to that change, Just like the story from our epics, how the little squirrels too carried  stones for  Lord Rama to build the bridge.
I have a more contemporary story that quite fits in todays world.
There is this large Defence organisation that i did some work for, For security reasons, no one from staff to officers are allowed to carry mobile phones in the campus.
They were all allowed to use the department phones. There were rules that the phones were to be used for official purpose only (how obvious isnt it?)
So there goes everyone broke the rules some time, some a little more some who were on the phone for hours. Most of these were personal calls at the cost of the tax payers money!
Rules ... what Rules I-say! it was practically impossible to solve this. Untill someone from the IT Department said.
Lets do this : We will take a print out of all the calls from each extension sort it by number of minutes of usage including the number that was called and paste it on the Dept Notice boards!
HAHA! the next month the phone bills was cut by half!

What i am trying to enunciate here is that
1) We need to have proper rules in place first -- no doubt of that
2) We need to device social-linked checks and measures that will deter citizens from breaking these rules.

How we do this efficiently to manage our common problems is as big a question to you as also me.
But am sure it might be worth discussing.

Disclaimer:
I am not saying this is the only way, but i am sure this approach can be implemented to address some problems at various levels.

--
PhotoYogi

Comments

asj's picture

Empower citizens

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First there ought to be a huge shift of focus from just widening roads without due consideration to road signage and markings which are vital (no one in Pune has ever seen a Give way sign).

Secondly, like a pulse polio campaign there has to be a sustained campaign for couple of years covering all rules of the road.

Third, empower citizens - let the police allow digital images of offending vehicles and drivers to be sent to them. We can't have a policeman on every street or junction, but we will have law abiding citizens everywhere with the mobile phone camera's - so let the police empower the citizens. This way, every one parking in no parking zone, riding wrong way, riding on footpaths, etc can be nabbed.

The penalties should be stiff - UK is contemplating 6 spoints for speeding, which means two strikes and out as 12 points leads to revoking of license.

Police have their hands tied up with having to use IPC, but local corporation can pass its own Act to stop encroachment of public property and have its own traffic wardens.

ASJ
s_yajaman's picture

We must follow all rules

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I agree with Photoyogi that unless we have to be the change that we want to see.  For starters all of us at Praja can make it a point to follow rules. 

  • Don't jump lights whatever the time of the day or night or whether you think it safe as no cars on either direction.  Everyone's "judgement" on safety margins is different and chaos happens. 
  • Drive at about 50 kmph (the average speed in Bangalore is 13-15 kmph!) - no point racing from one signal to another. 
  • Give way to traffic on your right at roundabouts
  • Give way to pedestrians at crossings - it takes no more than 5 secs (those 5 seconds are likely to be spent at the next red light anyway). 
  • Drive in lanes. 
  • Don't use the high beam at night.  It is hard enough with candlelight sort of streetlights and all sorts of obstacles.

Nothing very exotic.  But can make a big difference to the stress levels on the roads. 

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

narayan82's picture

Driving Skills...

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For example, on airport road command hospital junction, I stopped at the red light to into Cambridge Layout. A santro behind be insisted honking to let me know I was in his way. Finally he swerved around and then mentions "Why cant you PARK on the side." - so I yelled back syaing I wasnt parked and was at a red light - he cursed and he sped away.

People dont reason with the law - they can't understand the basics of stopping for a red light, and letting others stop for red light. I make it a point, not to budge if it is a red light - even if there is a might bus behind me. It slowly is working- people either give up or a give a sheepish smile.

I belive that this standing up to the law is the only way people will learn.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
Naveen's picture

Ethics & Integrity of People Very Low

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PhotoYogi,

Great thread to start - I think this one was overdue.

I think that there are other important elements also to consider here - Ethical standards, Integrity & Discipline of people, all of which are very, very poor. These are very difficult to cope with or change, & may likely take several decades. Photoyogi’s example highlights that even with those having well-paid jobs, these are still problem areas, not to mention people with poorer incomes, who form the bulk of the populace in this country.

All classes of people cut through any & all laid down procedures or rules to get their work done “more quickly” or “easily”, or “cheaply”, & misuse of public facilities is also rampant – we are all well aware & know this.

We can bring in barriers (as in the example), but can we have mechanisms to keep monitoring every move at every step by everyone ? Traffic signals are flouted as soon as the cop turns around, & the resultant jams are routine. Building violations, even in sophisticated & well-planned BDA layouts by the well-offs is a matter of great concern since ethical standards of the upper rungs are equally questionable.

My point here is that unless we aim at trying to improve these values of people, we would not have had a total victory in the battle. Enforcement will help play the major role in shaping this, but the war would still not be won until the day when all that the authorities need to do is just post a sign & all folks implicitly follow it !!

 

Srivathsa - great thoughts, & I already follow all of these, except the high-beam because of a mishap (I had earlier mentioned this - the commencement of the road divider had no reflector, & cud not be spotted in time to avert a contact, & I had crashed !  So, now, I use hi-beam as a routine, & dip lights only when vehicles are coming from ahead).

silkboard's picture

Let six go

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Driving being the most visible activity where we observe our disregard for rules, this post will tend to discuss our pet topic - traffic. But no harm.

I told this weird rule I follow to Rithesh the other day. Each time I head out, I tell myself to be courteous six times during the drive. It started as "at least" six times, but has become "exactly" six times now.

I created this rule to be at peace with myself. Till about 2 years ago, I used to be an angry young reformer on the roads - fuming at dis-courteous folks, purposefully making life difficult for the rule breakers (like not letting the left-side overtaker go, blocking way of the wrong-side driver etc). During this phase of my driving career, I 'argued' with lorry and bus drives, I thought I was trying to educate them, have tried Gandhigir style stunts (got out of car, bowed my head and gestured a zen or a octavia to lead ahead).

All this ended when two things happened. 1) A yellow plate qualis driver showed me a knife for blocking his progress on the wrong side of the road. 2) I realized that by not behaving the way most drivers do, I cause more problems on the road for others (stopped to let pedestrians cross, guys behind overtook from left instead of stopping behind me, and almost knocked down the passing pedestrians - this happened a few times).

Summary of all this? 1) Reforming others on the road - can't do it 2) can't be a perfect follower of all rules, not possible, I am no super patient swamiji here 3) can't see myself being as bad as those nasty call center cab drivers as well.

So "let six go" is my formula for being at peace with above realities . I sort of keep a count of - let a "waiting to turn right" vehicle cross, let pedestrians cross, avoid tempting overtaking situations from the left, and stuff like that. Having been good six times on a drive, I feel less guilty being forced to be just-like-the-others the rest of the time.

flanker's picture

Formal training

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Children will learn in school or by watching the grown-ups. If civic sense, traffic rules, ethics etc are not taught in the schools, they learn from the society which is a very bad practitioner(at least in India). Children should know what is right and what is wrong, schools can teach this.
s_yajaman's picture

SB - sorry but not good enough

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SB,

Sorry - but I hold you to higher standards than that.  No need to reform anyone on the road.  That is inviting trouble.  But to say that by following rules, you actually create more trouble and hence you decided that you would do otherwise is - I don't know what to say.  You can';t say that I will follow rules once everyone else does so.  Things are so bad onyl because everyone thinks that way.

The other day I drive to Whitefield from my house through CSB and ORR.  Did not cross 60 kmph at any point of time.  Did not break any light.  Still made it in 45 mins. 

Maybe TOI (like their lead India and teach India) should start a Safe India campaign.  Can you ask Mr.Mishra if he can take this up with TOI and other media?

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

silkboard's picture

Not that bad Srivathsa

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That was a confession there, but hope I didn't convey that I am dog bad on other occasions. I don't jump red signals, but do drive over 60 on ORR at times. I do overtake from left at times. I don't really let pedestrians go every time I see them waiting. I do join the 'extra' lanes that get created around every traffic light during peak hours, but don't cut someone bad to create 'new' lanes, or go on to the pavement to open an "out of band" lane.

Let six go is more of courteous driving practice I figured for myself. Being more courteous than that costs me time during my morning and evening commutes.

Photoyogi's picture

Wheel clamping?

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Friends, The fact that most of us even visit praja.in is reason to believe that we want to bring the change or if possible be a part of it.
There are 10s of lakhs of road users who care less, my question is how do we make *them* follow rules.
When i was writing the original post I thought that some one might come up with suggestions like "wheel clamping" please go thru this link : http://en.wikipedia.org/w... Umm, ?
 

Clamptastic by StefZ


If we had a bunch of these devices and empowered the good citizens (wardens) with these, each time you find a car parked on a sidewalk (say) you go and clamp it.
The key to the lock should be only with the Police Station who will unlock it after you pay a fine.
Even the thought of it brings an evil grin on my face hehe!

 

We could even start off with some thing like a "Shame-gallery" which hosts photos of offending vehicles and publicise the images in various ways. ?

 

--

 

PhotoYogi

-- PhotoYogi

s_yajaman's picture

SB - still not good enough :)

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SB,

I cannot hope to reform a knife wielding Qualis driver.  But I can hope to reform you :)

Do you really think that courtesy costs you time?  Out of your total driving time about 40-50% goes in waiting time.  It is simply a question of waiting in long stretches at traffic lights/jams or breaking it up into smaller waiting times.  At worst it might cost you 5 minutes.  Leave home 5 mins earlier. 

Your explanation coming from someone who has lived in the US and would stop at a STOP sign is not good enough :)

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

narayan82's picture

Wheel Clamping

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Praveen, The idea is good, but I see a practical problem. If the car is parked in a no-parking zone, it must be removed as soon as possible, because it will probably block traffic. I would reccomend that A large ugly looking sticker be pasted on the bonnet. Maybe it says "You Violated the Law!!" And the ownder can still have to pay a fine at the station, within the next 3 days or else his licence can be suspended.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
Photoyogi's picture

Parking offences

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Narayan, you have a point
We can always have something like this:
Cars in No parking zones -- get towed away
Cars parked on the side-walks -- get clamped
What do you do for a car parked in a parking space designated for two wheeler parking?
--
PhotoYogi

-- PhotoYogi

narayan82's picture

Tow Away works well...

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We should have some large trucks with a crane fitted, that can lift the car and place it on top and then drive away. Investing in a number of these trucks would be ok because, the fines collected will easily re-pay the loan (if actively used.)

Like this for example:

Each area, can have a collection centre, much like the pounds abroad where the fine can be payed and car collected.

This can even be outsourced to a Private Party. It has to be well regulated by the police, and every car must first be photographed, to show that it was wrong. This way, corruption also will be less.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
asj's picture

Nothing to do with ethics

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Roadside behaviour has very little to do with ethics. I have repeatedly said, the West is no more moral nor ethical but their roadside behaviour stands in contrast to their anti-sociality of other kinds constantly on display.

When birds (animals) can, why not humans?

 

Roadside behaviour has nothing to do with intellect or ethics but more to do with social conditioning - Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning (includes punsihment which works well only when its immediately contingent and proportionate - clearly rs 100 is dis-proportionately small to have any impact) alongside theories of social learning.

We have reprogrammed ourself, taken on the denim, McDonalds, Pepsi/Coke, Metro systems, etc as part of life - why not roadside behaviour of the West?

While I could do an hour long workshop on what I call 'Mechanics of Mind' or give a lecture here - I will briefly state here that our roadside behaviour can change within 3-4 years by reforming driver training and running sustained road safety campaigns.

We pick up habits as we grow, we re-programme them when exposed to something different (hence my video series). Ever found yourself humming the worst tune ever - a function of advertisements / TV / Radio playing that tune repeatedly. Much of our chaos can be resolved provided we spend on its reform rather than road widening, flyovers, elevated roads and the lot.

ASJ

ebi.schubert's picture

Its all about training and conditioning

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I completely agree with ASJ. It is all about training and conditioning. I have said this before.As an example, when I first moved form a small town in Tamil Nadu to bangalore. I saw roads with more than 2 lanes for the first time. Neither the license I took nor the behavior on the road clearly tells me how I should over take a turn and who has the right of way. I just made up these rules every time I am encountered with these situation and mostly followed others. When I came to the US and I took driving lessons I was clearly taught how to overtake and who has the right of way at every single point. In effect I don't really think about how this is done. The second thing that I feel contributes to breaking rules is the classic broken window syndrome. I have seen this happen in the US also. The moment you are faced with a situation where the rules that you were taught does not seem to work then every one breaks the rule. I feel that a re-certification program coupled with radio advertising and also a drive to have consisten signage should change the road behavior in 2-3 years time. -ebi
anjans's picture

enforcement

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people need to realise that driving is a privilege..Offenders have to be punished, whic will discourage them from doing it next time, it is the only way to make this work..social policing will not work..esp in tough/stressful road situations. In the US, jumping a red light or driving on shoulder is a fine of $250+...which is a lot of money to shell out for 90% of the americans...this is combined with increased vehicle insurance fees and points on the driving record (like credit record). In some cases it also does effect new employment.. In short ppl have made is quite non-attractive to break rules..all round..the same is required in india too..imagine a guy being fined Rs 5000, for one offence..he will think twice before trying it again!
s_yajaman's picture

Sustained enforcement

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Agree that appealing to people's conscience and sense of right and wrong will not work on a large scale There are so many violations now - where do we start? 

My own thinking is that the police needs to pick 3 offences for the year and just go hammer and tongs after people - including call center and BMTC drivers.  No one should feel immune.  If the same message plays out 365 days a year - then even Bangalore drivers will get it.

a. Red light jumping - this happens right in front of Vidhana Soudha and at Ulsoor Gate station - what a joke.  Rs.500 fine for the first offence and then rs.1000.  Third offence - lose license.

b. Driving on the wrong side of the road and on no-entry stretches

c. parking at no-parking areas after putting up signage. 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Vinay's picture

Silkboard, I can understand you very well..

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Because I am currently in the same state that you were in earlier. I do all the things you've mentioned here. Though I have not been confronted by a knife-wielding person yet, I have been through several ugly incidents in the past. I think the overall feeling here which everyone shares is: 1) Much better driver education is needed. 2) Merciless enforcement by the police is needed, especially when it comes to yellow board car-drivers, auto wallahs, buses, and maxicabs. Any ideas on how we take this forward with the police? How to get them to start a massive and merciless drive for enforcement? Even if a large percentage of the money goes in bribes, it does not matter. The very fact of getting caught and having to pay something, should make ruffian drivers think next time.

asj's picture

Second the idea of - Sustained Efforts

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Srivathsa,
You are absolutely right.

Some may recollect discussing this for ever on this thread http://praja.in/pune/discuss/2008/07/traffic-chaos-and-reforms-analysis-and-way-forward  where we concluded that  3Es were vital.

In the above thread I had shared a plan for moving ahead on this issue - http://driving.india.googlepages.com/Improving_road_traffic_safety_in_Ind.pdf

I had suggested a plan very much like what you say - see page 5 (point 1-15). Note that the points were first written as a part of communication with a DCP in AP.

In Pune we are attempting something similar via the Save Pune Traffic Movement group, efforts are on to rope in authorities, media (news papers, FM radio), corporate to try and do this.

Now that Praja is meeting (and may do so regularly) - Bangalore could have a sub-group to plan something along these lines.

Best wishes,
ASJ
Vasanth's picture

Goals for Police Men - Fine 'N' number of violations

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In India, people are fined only for not holding few certificates like License, Emission or Insurance. Inspector will be sitting or standing behind his motorcycle comfortably and constable will catch hold of usually only 2 wheelers.Mostly near month ends.

Cops will never catch hold of rash driving or overspeeding or standing on zebra crossing.

I had posted earlier about increasing the fines, sharing some percent of fine amount to the cops themselves (this will improve the police department income as well as police income also instead of benefitting just police).

Also cops something like bonus points which they can redeem. Each policemen should have a target to fine. In other words they should become ridiculous to drivers which will force the people to use public transport more.

Cops never check Cars especially luxury cars. They are afraid of VIPs and VVIP sons and daughters!!.

Office cabs - those Sumos,Qualis and Indicas are the most dangerous thing that Bangalore has got.  Driving especially late in night is so dangerous because of these cabs. I had posted earlier to replace the Indicas with Nanos once it is launched since it is less powerful. Drivers will also be careful since they will be injured in an accident as well if an accident occurs. Speed will be in control.

Replace Sumos with Tata Magic - A seven seater auto based on the Tata Ace platform. Enforcing the discipline to these drivers is difficult, rather underpower them.

idontspam's picture

WHAT A SHAME!!!!

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Traffic ASI, towing staff assaulted

A traffic Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) and his towing staff were attacked in public for towing away a two-wheeler parked in a no parking area. The owner of a military hotel, his son and four of his associates allegedly ganged up, snatched the cops’ walkie-talkie, rained blows and chased them away.

The ASI registered a complaint at the Subramanypura police station. Within hours, pressure mounted on the ASI’s seniors, with politicians telling them that they wanted the ASI to retract his complaint.

s_yajaman's picture

Arm them with at least a stun weapon

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What chance do we stand then?  Arm  the cops with at least a stun weapon or pepper spray.  Enough is enough.  Wouldd anyone mess around with a US trooper? 

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

Disgusting

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This is the reality in our country - as I had mentioned earlier, our populace is still to evolve. They stoop down so low that even some tame animals appear far better behaved.


srinidhi's picture

when to tow?

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I would say ..if the vehicle has been parked for a long time ..is affecting traffic movement

else just ticket it or get a mechanism where the owner of the vehicle is auto debited for the fine or there is spot collection..why tow!?

Towing two wheelers has become a big racket with agencies involved..all they do is tow 10 two wheelers and collect fine for less than half of them and collect bribe for the rest!
This bribe thing happened right in front of me and when I complained to the officer inside(Basavanagudi PS)..hes stuck to his seat saying 'thappu..avanu madiddu thappu' thats it!
Shame on such cops!

ananth.bangalore's picture

Parking and Driving in Bangalore

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There are two sides to the same coin. Always. Heres my thought:

Firstly, we should also understand the big picture- BBMP's CDP (Comprehensive Development Plan) clearly shows the intensity of population at various wards and zones. Now, the transport department makes a plan for transportaion along all zones including road networks, mass transit system, metro rail transit, parking zones, etc. Do we know if the master plan is suffcient to meet the needs of today and tomorrow?

a. Parking: I am sure many of us have had this frustrating experience of having to drive around long distances to park only to walk back the same long distance to reach the destination. sometimes, you do not get any parking space, period. I have had to go 3 kms to park and then take an auto back to my destination. Now if i drive to Sampige Road at Malleswaram and have to buy lots of veggies and fruits, where do i park my car? Firstly, the autorities can't comfortbaly not provide for parking (when they sanction buildings without providing for parking spaces) or not follow BBMP parking regulations while granting building licenses.

You have to provide a framework for the citizens to follow and then ask the people to follow them. If you dont provide any reasonable framework, then, dont expect people to stick by the framework's stupidity.They will at times conveniently park anywhere causing harm to other commuters like you and me.

b. Driving: I am not writing here about the obvious troublemakers on road- like the adrenalin driven youngster on bike with no mufflers. three things- drivers, automobiles and roads.

Drivers- i have not seen one trafic signal where people always stop before the white line. that goes to say about the importance that we give to traffic regulations. Traffic cops ask them to merely move back (ony at times) and thats it. The traffic cop is too tired of dealing with these people to stop them, talk with them and fine them. so, who cares?
There is a road which leads from the hosur road to hockey stadium and its a one-way. Many buses (and only buses) come in the opposite direction with the policeman watching and not doing anything. Once i asked the town bus driver why he did that. he started abusing me in foul language.
 
Automobiles- the worst maintained automobiles are the givernment buses (not the new volvo ones) or the trucks that belong to BBMP (those which take ship garbage). Seen the fumes from them? how shameful is that? why will i respect BBMP when they are the first to flout their own rules?

Roads- I am not gonna say much on this. all of us know. Anyone travelled this particular road- after yeshwantpur, there is a road which goes inside the Peenya industrial estate phase 1 (just adjoining a Indian Oil petrol bunk on the left) on thumkur road, which goes to the trident hundai service station? If the government had not done up that road at one point of time, the road would have been better now.

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