There’s a saying that goes ‘if you want to know about a society just look at its traffic’. This really is a simple “litmus test” for a given society. Not a single country, making it to the list of developed nations, has disorganized traffic.
To say that the traffic in our country is disorganized will be a gross understatement. The whole system is a mess.
The basic cause for mayhem in our traffic is the total disregard to lane system. Vehicles on our roads switch from extreme left to extreme right without thinking twice. One may finds bikes and motor rickshaws that are supposedly be confined to the far left lane (slow lane) weaving in and out of fast and slow lanes or worse, clogging the fast lanes completely, thus giving the concept of ‘fast lanes’ a silent death.
The system of traffic requires essential adherence to the rules and regulations and the sooner a nation realizes the significance of rules the better.
Our disposition towards rules is simple: they don’t apply to us, that is the reason that we have scores of people giving up on life on the way to hospitals just because the road is closed for some VIP movement or a member of the airport security staff or traffic control system is beaten up for stopping a VIP from free access.
The most basic requirement of a civilized society is respect for law and everyone to be equal in the eyes of law. A system where the law is waived for the influential can keep nobody pleased. In such a case every body has to give up their right at one time or the other.
Secondly, ignorance is a chronic problem of our society. I remember I was made to give a written test when I applied for my driver’s license. I was given a learners license and a book named ‘The highway code’ containing all the rules of traffic applicable here. When I see the driving here, I wonder if those drivers have ever even seen that book. You’ll find people driving in anyway they want merely for thrill of the experience.
The traffic police, I’m sorry to say, play no role in improving the situation. I’ve seen drivers cross red lights – a grave offense, which I’m sure everyone in the world familiar with traffic knows– and the police officer standing without batting an eyelash. These things don’t register as offenses anymore.
What I think will be more rigorous in spreading understanding of rules would be perhaps a week long training course before issuance of the driver’s license. That no doubt will ensure that every certified driver knows the rules of traffic. But what of people who drive without licenses? It all comes back to how well rules are enforced. We all know that red lights hold no meaning for us here but abroad we will most conscientiously abide by the law. Why? Because if we don’t we’ll have to face the consequences by getting a ticket, our license confiscated or spending time behind bars. That’s the whole point isn’t it? People don’t follow rules where they are not forced to. I think it is too much of wishful thinking to expect people to abide by rules out of their own innate morals. The only hope for improvement in our traffic and the rest of our system in general lies in stringent enforcement of rules. And, it should definitely be done sooner rather than later.