We Are The ‘Traffic’
Traffic is certainly one of the biggest issues in our country. If not all, most of us crib about the traffic at least once a day. But the truth is, we tend to forget is that WE ARE THE TRAFFIC. Isn’t it? It literally means we are the problem and we alone are the solution. It is easier to blame the government, infrastructure and the traffic police for the issue than to own up and takes responsibility. How we behave and treat the traffic signal reflects on our character and how we drive demonstrates what drives us. I opine that the general public of India has more to do than what the government is supposed to do. It is not because of insufficient policemen but because of inefficient decent men on the road.
Repeated Signal Violaters
The major traffic issue, amongst many, is the concern of jumping lights, which has become the characteristic of our daily life. The question of integrity comes into play when the rules are broken. Jumping the traffic lights gives a massive opportunity for every violator to prove his integrity based on a lie. The easiest way by which any signal-crasher can get away without being found guilty is to simply blame it on the functioning of the traffic lights. While we cannot disagree with the fact that most of the time, in most of the places, most of the traffic lights are ineffective, that does not give us the permission to break the rules. Non-functioning of traffic lights call for co-operative action, while many of us decide to take unilateral decisions. I believe that is when crashing lights will eventually become a part of our character. We will soon end up legitimizing our decision to jump signals even when the lights are in right condition. All of us, by now, started to believe that rule-breaking is a non-issue and when no one is looking, we do our best to ‘push the limits’ a little too far. While most of us obediently line up at the crossing at least in the presence of a competent authority, ‘experienced jumpers’ do not find the need to stop even then. I call the signal-jumpers as ‘repeated offenders’ because they are totally aware of their doings and still think it is perfectly rational.
Better ‘Late’ Than Never
A fairly run-of-the-mill reason stated for jumping lights is the urgency to reach a destination which, many-a-times, are not supported by a plausible explanation. However, the credibility of every light-jumper to be in a hurry is questionable. The reason for jumping signals is being in a hurry, is a perfect paradigm of voting for any political party hoping that all their promises are kept. Those who crash lights do that, not because they are in haste or they want to get somewhere faster, but because they are no stranger to rule-breaking. Here, the misconduct of the violator to steal a march on the fellow travellers shows the perfect example of a non-egalitarian behaviour. That, undeniably, is a major concern, rather than whether or not the light-crashers are in a hurry. This malady of ‘I-can-crash-lights-because-I-am-in-a-hurry’ has ultimately become an epidemic in the country.
No Respect For One’s Life
Another major reason for taking the traffic rules too casually is due to the deterioration in the sense of self-worth. In principle, jumping signals are treacherous and can be fatal to both the guilty violator and the faultless passer-by. Light-crashers seem to have no respect for their own lives, as well as others and thereby do not confine themselves to rules. As mentioned earlier, they do not have a valid reason for such behaviour but would do it just because they want to seize the day.
Not to forget, the government and the traffic police cannot be totally excused from their responsibility to maintain law and order regarding traffic. I am convinced that there is no uncompromising penalty for those who jump-lights. At the most, a challan will be issued and some ‘skilful’ people can even get away without paying them (everyone knows how). We can clearly see that the Indian traffic system is flexible and can be arbitrarily altered at all times. This opens an opportunity for the violators to completely blame it on the government and the traffic system without having to take responsibility for their conscienceless doings.
Responsibility Of All
No argument is effective against the bad behaviour of both the rule-breakers and the traffic system. There is a compelling need for all the citizens of India to understand the importance of adhering to the rules. The truth that someone might be injured or killed even because of an insignificant signal-jump should be taken much more seriously than its illustrated version on billboards and hoardings. We should not forget that each one of us is liable for our own actions – at least to maintain a clear conscience. Likewise, the government should also take necessary action against all those who violate the rules and make sure that the rule-breakers do not skip out without having to pay for their mistake. Psychological policing is very important to discipline the traffic. A useful rule of the thumb is to stop the first few vehicles which will force the following vehicles to stop per se. If everyone does their part responsibly without sticking their nose into someone else’s business, India will be a much different and better place. I hope that the colours – Red, Amber and Green are respected for what they actually are and not on what we attribute them to.