| June 23, 2017
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Have Your Say: Heavy fines

Have Your Say: Heavy fines
The government has increased the fine for violation of traffic rules by 20 times. According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), those violating traffic rules will be fined anywhere between Rs 500 – Rs 1,500. Earlier, the fine for traffic rules violation was Rs 25 – Rs 200, with the maximum fine imposed for drunk driving at Rs 1,000.  According to MTPD, the rate of fine has been increased in a bid to curb road accidents and maintain traffic rules as the previous fine rates were too low to help minimize road accidents. The Week asked a few motorists for their take on the matter.

Renisha Bista
fitness instructor, Salsa Dance Academy

To be honest, though I appreciate all that the traffic department is doing to curb road accidents, I think Rs 1,500 in fines is a little too steep. I’m someone who’s always forgetting to carry her scooter’s bill book and sometimes, I forget my wallet at home leaving my license behind too and I heard the fine for that is Rs 1,500 as well. Sometimes people forget to carry these items. I think it’s absurd that one has to shell out such a huge amount for something as simple as that.
I think making traffic classes compulsory – like in drunk driving case – once your license is seized is way effective than just raising the fines. The police should revise their strategy and find other ways to manage traffic effectively than just hiking up the fines.

Atit Adhikari
business owner

I know a lot of people are saying that this is a wrong move on part of the traffic department of Nepal but I wholeheartedly support them. Raising the fines from Rs 25 – Rs 200 to Rs 500 – Rs 1,500 is going to make sure that people follow traffic rules. I’m hoping that the public transportation, especially the micro buses, will now be a little more cautious. Despite the traffic personnel booking them time and again, they just didn’t seem to change their ways. After all, Rs 200 was nothing for them. But now, with Rs 1,500 in fines, I’m certain they won’t be driving recklessly and we’ll see lesser accidents. This is revenue wise a good move for the country. The only drawback I see is that people might try to bribe policemen to avoid heavy fines.

Subash Bhatta
student

This step by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Department will ensure that people who are out their driving on the roads will be conscious of their actions. They will follow the rules that they have been showing a blatant disregard for, for years now. I believe the decision has been taken keeping the best interest of the public in mind. Earlier, the amount just too low for people to worry about violating traffic rules to avoid paying fines, but now people will think twice before breaking traffic rules. This means better traffic management, and less road rage and accidents. That’s definitely something we should all be happy about. A lot of people are cynical about it because the government has given us a lot of reasons to doubt their actions, but here, I think, they hit bull’s eye. 

Pranab Mahat
businessman

I think increasing the penalty for traffic violation is not the right way to deal with road safety and traffic issues. The government should not implement such plans forcefully. By hiking up the fines, motorists now have to pay a lot of money for the simplest of traffic violations. The Metropolitan Traffic Police Department should aim to raise awareness about traffic rules and bring innovative programs in order to do so. Educating the public about the benefits of following traffic rules is important rather than just making them pay when they break a rule. They should try and change the mindset of the public so as to make them take traffic rules seriously and thus abide by it. Only this will work in the long term. The step to increase the fines shows the shortsightedness of the traffic police department. 

Merina Shrestha
chapter administrator, Entrepreneurs’
Organization Nepal

I know people have conflicting views regarding this step by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Department but I’m looking at it positively because I believe they are doing this to make our roads safer for everybody. Right now, you don’t have to be in the wrong to get into an accident. You end up suffering the consequences of somebody else’s mistakes. By hiking up the fines, people will be more disciplined because they will be weary of having to part with a large amount of money. For some Rs 1,500 for not sticking to your lane might sound ludicrous but the repercussions of not sticking to your lane can sometimes be huge. So with the fine, I’m sure many people will think twice between violating a traffic rule. This will have positive impacts on road safety.