Thursday 28 March 2013

A cardcop, not a Robocop

When you first come to Bangalore, two things strike you immediately. The first is the number of vehicles and the second is the bog, beautiful, sprawling and sometimes Gothic buildings.
As you begin to stay on in Bangalore, the first thought starts to bother you and whatever you do, wherever you go and whichever locality you are in, traffic in Bangalore becomes the first topic of conversation.
If you are late for work, traffic is blamed. If an event is delayed, traffic is to blame. Traffic thus has become an integral and everyday life of a Bangalorean. However, over the last few days, there has been a different kind of talk about motorists and residents.
This is about a traffic op who works 24/7 and who stands at a corner and looks on smilingly at violators. The result: Motorists, particularly, gingerly put on their helmets, slow down and suddenly show a road sense which we thought they never had.
When these violators near the policemen and look at him from the corner of their eye, they are in for a massive surprise. The traffic policemen is not human. He is only a perfect cardboard replica of a Bangalore traffic cop, complete with the brown and white uniform, booth and other paraphernalia associated with such a cop.
While a few motorists sheepishly move away, others go back to their traffic breaking spree-riding without a helmet, driving the wrong way, overspeeding, changing lanes, reckless and dangerous driving, taking on the mobile, drinking and driving and sometimes even shouting at the top of their lungs or hotting the horns continuously.
Most of these fake policemen have been stationed in central Bangalore and so far they have done a commending job of reminding motorists that they have to adhere to traffic rules. He is one policemen who never needs a break and he can stand even in the hottest summer and he can also freely inhale any amount of vehicular exhaust.
This policemen can also stand in for a real cop and make life for the regular cop much easier. This cardcop is the latest endeavour of the Bangalore City Traffic police to drive some sense into senseless drivers and give the much harassed traffic cops a slight break.
With 4.2 million registered vehicles on its roads, Bangalore is already choc-a-block with all categories of  vehicles and the Traffic police have been having a hard time in enforcing discipline. The fake cop are not gimmicks and they have successfully brought down violations. Their success has enthused the top brass of Traffic police to have more such policemen standing in for the real cops on other parts of Bangalore.    
As of now, there is a shortage of more than 500 traffic policemen in the city and the shortage seems to be growing when you look at the increasing number of vehicles.
By the way, Bangalore has already the dubious distinction of being one of the most accident prone cities in India and also the most indisciplined.
Unfortunately, Bangalore has been reporting a large number of traffic related accidents and pedestrians have had to bear the brunt of two-wheeler riders’ antics.
How many times have we seen drivers breaking traffic rules with impunity. Even at traffic signals, these carefree drivers disregard traffic lights, park right on zebra crossings, start sounding the horn even before the traffic light turns green and indulge in rash and negligent driving.
Only the presence of a traffic op drives some sense and where the traffic signals are not manned, it is a free for all. To that extent, the fake cops are driving some measure of discipline into the errant motorists. To ensure that the drivers do not take the cops casually, real cops stand at the points where their fake brothers once stood.
The traffic police want to equip the dummy cops with cameras so that the violators are easily caught.
The best way to “deceive” the traffic cop is by following rules. Do not give in to temptation and drive fast and dangerously. Stop chatting on the mobile while driving. If the call is so important, stop, get down, talk and then drive. Why risk your life and those of others by reckless driving.

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