Najafgarh worst in Delhi in wrong side driving, reveals police data | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Najafgarh worst in Delhi in wrong side driving, reveals police data

May 07, 2024 05:46 AM IST

10 areas reported the most prosecutions against people caught driving against the flow of traffic between January 1 and April 30, showed data

Najafgarh and Dwarka in southwest Delhi, Sarita Vihar and Sangam Vihar in the south Delhi, Punjabi Bagh and Rajouri Garden in the west, Kotwali and Kamla Market in the north and Bhajanpura and Kalyanpuri in the east had the highest instances of wrong-side driving in the Capital in the first four months of the year, showed traffic police data, outlining the hotspots of a scourge responsible for a major chunk of fatal accidents in the city.

A vehicle on the wrong side of the Shaheen Bagh road near Shram Vihar in New Delhi on Monday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
A vehicle on the wrong side of the Shaheen Bagh road near Shram Vihar in New Delhi on Monday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

These 10 areas reported the most prosecutions against people caught driving against the flow of traffic between January 1 and April 30, showed data from the Delhi traffic police.

Indeed, the traffic police fined nearly 250 people for wrong-side driving every day in these four months, significantly more than the 150 fined during the same period last year.

Traffic police have issued 30,062 fines for wrong-side driving till April this year, a 67% surge from 18,047 last year, showed the data.

To be sure, the actual number of infractions is likely to be far higher, given that police have prosecuted only a fraction of all violations.

Experts and police point to a string of factors responsible for the menace, including a near-absence of the fear of prosecution, a blatant disregard of the law and a lack of traffic personnel at key hotspots.

According to the traffic police data, the Najafgarh traffic police circle topped the list, with 1,389 fines issued, followed by Sarita Vihar (1,333), Bhajanpura (1,133), Punjabi Bagh (1,093) and Kalyanpuri (1,062).

A spot check by HT on Monday showed that commuters were willing to imperil their own lives, as well as those of others, to save a few minutes or seconds on the road.

In Sarita Vihar in southeast Delhi, for instance, Road Number 13 – commonly known as Kos Marg, which connects Jasola with Mathura Road (Delhi-Chennai Highway) – near Apollo hospital teemed with violations.

HT found that cars, auto-rickshaw, two-wheelers, and e-rickshaws carrying passengers were coming from Jasola/Sarita Vihar side and going on the wrong side on Mathura Road towards the hospital and the traffic signal crossing after taking a right turn from the Kos Road.

While most of them were entering the hospital through Gate No 3, just a 50-metre drive on Mathura Road from Kos Road, many commuters used the wrong carriageway to reach the traffic signal and cross onto the opposite carriageway of the Mathura Road, towards Ashram Chowk.

The other wrong side drivers were either stopping at the bus stop or going to the roadside eateries outside the hospital.

HT spoke to some drivers to understand why wrong-side driving was frequent at the spot and many said they used the shortcut to cut down travel times and save fuel.

Niranjan Rajak (45) said he had come to the bus stop from Jasola to meet a client, who was arriving there in a bus.

“The bus stop is barely a 15-metre ride once I exit Kos Marg. But if I use the dedicated route, I will have to drive nearly 300 metres to reach the Sarita Vihar underpass and than cover another 700-800 metres to reach the traffic signal on the Mathura Road carriageway going towards Ashram Chowk, and again take a U-turn from there to reach the bus stop. In between, I will have to face traffic snarls and spend at least 15 minutes to reach my destination. I know driving on the wrong side is risky but if it saves my time and fuel, I won’t mind taking the risk once or twice,” said Rajak.

The situation was similar near Shram Vihar and Okhla Estate underpass, where motorists and cyclists used the wrong carriageways. At the Okhla Estate underpass, for instance, several two-wheelers and cyclists took the wrong carriageway from the traffic signal to reach their destinations in Sarita Vihar, Aali village and Mohan Estate – all by passing through the underpass.

The situation was similar at multiple points on the Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, connecting Chirag Delhi from Mehrauli-Badarpur Road. Mostly two-wheeler riders and auto drivers were found driving on the wrong carriageway.

Delhi’s special commissioner of police (traffic zone-2) HGS Dhaliwal said an analysis of the 10 worst traffic circles makes it possible to target enforcement operations to improve safety and adherence to traffic regulations.

“We are also collaborating with various stakeholders, including civic authorities and educational institutions, to raise awareness about the importance of adhering to traffic rules and regulations. Public outreach programmes, awareness campaigns, and educational initiatives are being conducted to instill a sense of responsibility and civic duty among all road users,” added Dhaliwal.

On the steps that the traffic police can take to discourage wrong-side driving, former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Muktesh Chander, who served as a special commissioner in the city police’s traffic unit said, “The traffic police have a database of wrong side driving hotspots. Regular deployment of traffic personnel should be made in such areas to prosecute violators. Additionally, the traffic police should also consider cancelling the licence of repeat violators for a year or two, depending upon the number of challans issued to him or her for the same violation.”

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