Driv­ers talk­ing on phone will now lose their li­cence

Pil­lion riders too will have to wear hel­mets

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Make abid­ing by traf­fic rules your res­o­lu­tion for 2016. For, jump­ing a traf­fic light, talk­ing on the phone while driv­ing, speed­ing or driv­ing drunk, vi­o­la­tions con­sid­ered “mi­nor” by most, could lead to sus­pen­sion of your driver’s li­cence for three months. More­over, pil­lion riders on two-wheel­ers too will have to wear hel­mets, fail­ing which they will have to un­dergo a manda­tory two-hour coun­selling ses­sion, in ad­di­tion to a penalty.

The rules, aimed at im­prov­ing road safety in Ma­ha­rash­tra, which tops the list for road accident ca­su­al­ties in the coun­try with more than 12,500 deaths a year, were an­nounced by the state gov­ern­ment on Fri­day and will come into ef­fect im­me­di­ately.

Those driv­ing drunk, fer­ry­ing pas­sen­gers in goods ve­hi­cles and ex­ceed­ing load lim­its will also have their li­cences sus­pended on the spot. “The coun­selling ses­sion will also be manda­tory for those driv­ing with­out wear­ing a seat­belt,” said state trans­port min­is­ter Di­wakar Raote. The gov­ern­ment res­o­lu­tion (GR), dated De­cem­ber 31, 2015, or­ders the road trans­port of­fices and traf­fic po­lice to en­sure strict im­ple­men­ta­tion of traf­fic rules from Jan­uary 1 and sub­mit an ac­tion taken re­port ev­ery three months.

While wel­com­ing the new rules safety, activists and of­fi­cials cau­tioned that im­ple­ment­ing them will not be easy. “The plan sounds good, but un­less the im­ple­men­ta­tion is chalked out, it may not have the de­sired ef­fect,” said Ashutosh Atray, a road safety ex­pert.

Of­fi­cials said bar­ring Mum­bai, no other city in Ma­ha­rash­tra fol­lows the hel­met rule. “Cities such as Pune, where there are a large num­ber of two-wheel­ers, have ob­jected to the idea in the past. Forget pil­lion riders, even those rid­ing the two-wheel­ers don’t use a hel­met there,” said an­other of­fi­cial from the trans­port depart­ment. Ac­cord­ing to sources, the de­ci­sion has been taken based on the rec­om­men­da­tions of the road safety coun­cil (RSC), in ac­cor­dance with the Supreme Court guide­lines is­sued in Au­gust last year, at a meet­ing held at Nag­pur on De­cem­ber 17.


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