Phone drive keeps motorists on track

Compliance up after crackdown

By Monalisa Chaudhuri in Calcutta
  • Published 15.02.18
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A sergeant intercepts a man who was allegedly speaking on his phone while driving.  The cop enters the phone number of the motorist in the traffic police challan app to check previous cases. This turns out to be his first offence.The cop seizes his licenceand sends an e-challan for a fine of Rs 1,000 to get the licence back

Calcutta: A police drive on Wednesday against motorists using mobile phones at the wheel appeared to work as much for the penalty of embarrassment as the prospect of being fined Rs 1,000 for a first offence.

Metro watched from the sidelines as traffic cops stopped alleged offenders and, depending on what call records showed, seized a driving licence, imposed a spot fine or let someone off with a warning.

Compliance has increased on city roads since city police announced the crackdown on mobile phone use while driving, according to officers.

A motorcyclist with his phone stuck between his helmet and left ear “for convenience”.  The sergeant checks his last call, which it turns out was sometime ago. He gets away with a spot fine of Rs 100 under Section 177 of the MV Act

"Word has spread. People are alert these days...the sight of our white uniform is itself an alarm," said a sergeant on the job near Queensway.

A repeat offence doubles the penalty to Rs 2,000 for every subsequent breach.

"I called and texted my friends and cousins to be alert while driving. There seem to be policemen everywhere," said Ayan Mukherjee, a young businessman who spotted cops prosecuting motorists at four crossings between Shibpur and Manohar Pukur Road.

According to Lalbazar data, 141 people were prosecuted on Tuesday for using a phone or earphones while driving.

A sergeant asks a motorist why he is wearing earphones. The man insists he was neither talking nor listening to music. The sergeant checks the person’s iPhone and finds no recent activity. He checks the driving licence and allows the motorist to go with a warning that even wearing earphones at the wheel is illegal. Pictures by Pradip Sanyal