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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Fine up for road cell use

Tuesday’s accident on VIP Road was no exception. Use of cellphone by drivers has reached alarming proportions in the city, leaving Lalbazar groping for ways to curb the menace.

Stung by allegations of slack policing, top cops are toying with the idea of seizing the licences of drivers caught talking on the phone. This will be in addition to the penalty that they have to pay now.

“The Rs 100 fine is too meagre. We have sent a proposal to increase it to Rs 500. But even that might not be a deterrent for those who use the cellphone at the wheel. We are thinking of punching the licences of the offenders,” said Manoj Verma, the deputy commissioner (traffic).

This year, till December 15, the traffic police has booked over 4,000 drivers for talking on the cellphone while driving. The figure is much more than last year’s, but most violators still go scot-free.

“When it comes to traffic rule violation, we focus on buses and minibuses and tend to be slack with drivers on the phone,” admitted a senior traffic officer. He cited lack of manpower as the reason.

“The state government has forwarded our proposal for heavier penalty to the Centre for ratification. It would take time for the law to be in place,” said Ranvir Kumar, the joint commissioner (traffic).

Till that happens, the police have decided to increase awareness among drivers. One-minute films have been commissioned to highlight the dangers of driving while on the phone. A print campaign has also been planned.

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