The amended Motor Vehicles Act which came into effect from September 1, 2019, is proving to be a pinch in the pockets of the offenders. Under the new MV Act, if a person is caught riding a two-wheeler without a helmet, he/she might be fined Rs 1,000 along with a three-month disqualification from driving license. The fine, however, took a new turn in Bihar's Motihari town where the traffic police are letting off the offenders without imposing a hefty fine but are teaching them a lesson making sure their mistake is rectified. If two-wheeler riders in Motihari are caught without a helmet or lapsed insurance paper at police checkpoints, they are being directed to vendors who sell helmets and insurance policies nearby.
The innovative drive has been launched by Chhatauni police station SHO Mukesh Chandra Kunwar.
"I roped in some helmet sellers and insurance agents who have set up stalls beside the checking points. Riders are not being fined as that makes them feel like they are offenders. Instead, they are made to purchase good quality helmets and get their insurance renewed," Mukesh Chandra Kunwar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Mukesh Chandra Kunwar believes that the hefty fines under the MV Act fail to build people's trust and makes them think of policemen as extortionists. “I drew inspiration from the town’s historical legacy and came up with the plan which could help us achieve the objective of the amended MV Act in a humane yet effective way,” Financial Express quoted Mukesh Chandra Kunwar as saying.
The SHO has also requested the District Transport Officer to depute an official who could issue learner's license on the spot to offenders riding without it. However, Mukesh Chandra Kunwar said that all offences can't be let off with goodwill gestures. If a person offends rules that are dangerous to other road users then the police won't let him/her off easily.
"If a person is found driving rash or under the influence of alcohol -- sale and consumption of which is banned in Bihar -- then we are left with no option but to take action according to the law," he said.
Cops in Bihar are not the first one to come up with a creative idea to deal with traffic offender, Kerala police distributed ladoos to traffic violators while Manipur police the offenders toffees.