People in capital looking forward to enforcement of traffic laws

People in the federal capital are eagerly awaiting for the enforcement of traffic laws after the prime minister inaugurated the new traffic police recently.
The growing volume of traffic on the roads, lack of awareness about traffic laws and its violation and safety adds to the growing number of accidents – some times fatal – making driving a risky business in Pakistan.
People in the capital heaved a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz launched the new traffic force on the pattern of Motorway Police. “Its a good start. Islamabad should be a role model in every aspect for the rest of Pakistan,” says Syed Mohsin a sociologist.
The education-cum-awareness campaign about traffic laws, which the new traffic police started on January 2, will continue till February 11 after which the violators will not be spared.

Driving in lanes, proper parking, adhering to speed limit, giving way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing and use of indicators while turning, overtaking or changing lanes are the initial few points which the new police are stressing.
Main roads and boulevards of Islamabad have been donned with posters and police are distributing leaflets about the importance of road safety. The cops deployed on various intersections ask the drivers to put on their seat belts.
“I hope the new police will listen to no sifarish when it comes to booking for overspeeding,” said Nadia Irum who drives daily to her work place in Blue Area.
She says almost everyone on Islamabad Highway indulges in rash driving and over speeding.
Muhammad Hanif is employed as computer operator in a government department and travels daily on public transport. He says he prays for his life every day after boarding a wagon in Pindi for Pak Secretariat.
“Driving rashly and at excessive speeds, overtaking from the wrong side and tail-gating the car in front is the routine for wagonwallahs,” he said. “I hope the new traffic force will rein them.” Journalists have also hoped traffic laws will be implemented without consideration of one’s social status.
“One of the main reasons for traffic violations in the capital is that anyone who is someone here considers himself above the law,” says Aftab Zahoor an enviornment journalist. “I am sure the police will not spare any of the so- called VIPs who violate traffic rules,” he added.
“The best way to make Islamabad’s roads safe is to strictly enforce existing laws. If some VIP is caught for violation, he should be fined double,” commented Zeeshan Haider working with a foreign wire service.
A shopkeeper in Aabpara said the police should make sure the pedestrians also get their right of way while crossing the road.
“Motorists think they are a special lot and will not slow down for pedestrians. Police must ensure their rights,” he said.
The violator of a red signal could end up paying Rs 500 fine, obstructing movement of emergency vehicles Rs 300, jumping traffic queue Rs 300, lane violation Rs 300, motorbike rider without helmets to pay Rs 100 and failure to give way to pedestrians Rs 200, parking at no-parking zone Rs 300 and tail gating Rs 300.
The police would also fine a maximum of Rs 500 to those involved in racing and overspeeding.
So far 400 personnel have been inducted in the new traffic police out of the proposed force of 709. Their salaries are atleast 150 percent higher than the regular Islamabad police. Sultan Azam Taimuri has been promoted to the rank of SSP to head the force.
“Every possible step would be taken to make our roads safer for both the motorists and pedestrians,” he told APP. “That is the whole idea behind the new police force.”
The new police has been provided a new uniform, similar to that of the Motorway Police, with new vehicles and motorbikes.—APP

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