One person is killed on Mumbais streets every 15 hours, the worst record in India. In an is making an effort to get a traction on the chaos, the police are extending digital recording fines electronically and investing CCTV. But will it stop people taking hazards?

For 30 hours after she was hit, Archana Pandya lay bleeding on a road in the busy Mumbai suburb of Goregaon. The 22 -year-old, who had just started a new job, was on her behavior home from undertaking when she used the victim of a hit-and-run. She died of her hurts. There were a lot of people there, and it happened right opposite a police station, but no one came forward to help, says her friend Siddharth Pandya. Its not the roads; in India, its the people the hell is unsafe.

Pandya was one of 586 people killed in road accidents in Mumbai in 2015, the equivalent of one death every 15 hours. Another 2,034 were seriously injured. The long response times of ambulances and disaster vehicles, working together with the reluctance of spectators to facilitate street preys for panic of being detained by police and hospitals, contribute to slow, agonizing extinctions for the thousands of parties every year. As a cause, Mumbai a city with approximately the same number of cars as London, but more than four times the number of street fatalities has become known as Indias crash capital. In 2015 there were 23,468 registered congestion conflicts: the highest in the two countries.

The citys urban geography has helped spawn a culture of foolhardy driving. Automobiles zigzag through dense traffic jam, cutting trails, engulf from the left or zipping past red lights. Motorists know that criminal penalties are small and the chances of getting caught are low. Many scoff at the idea of wearing a seatbelt, while others casually take phone calls and reaction text words as they steer through the maze of cars.

These lax attitudes and dangerous driving garbs are spawned right from the driving experiment, which exists principally as a formality and is easily smoothed with a small bribe. Aditi Deopujari, a Mumbai resident who got her “drivers licence” in 2000, clarifies: I was part of a driving school that had a setup with the Motor Vehicles Department[ which issues licences ]. I presented up and had some pattern rounds, but never had to sit the quiz or had any written experiment regarding the rules. I just got handed the licence. Another inhabitant, who asked to remain anonymous, says: I literally had to drive five metres forward, and then five metres alter. That was it, I passed.

A
Mumbai has the highest density of cars in India. Image: Alamy

In an is making an effort to get a grasp on the chaos, Milind Bharambe, the head of the traffic police, is presiding over a brand-new traffic control experiment. The metropoli has given all transaction policeman electronic devices to question fines, and has installed 4,000 CCTV cameras at conjunctions and signals. After five breaches, we are going to start taking away licences, says Bharambe, whose plan to digitise the traffic control organization takes clues from Prime Minister Narendra Modis digital India programme.

Watch, says police officer Prashant Prabhu, motioning towards a traffic light at a busy conjugation on the Mumbai marina. Across the road, the light-headed is about to go from light-green to red-faced. But just as he prophesies, autoes accelerate through, hoping to cross the signal as the yellow flashes. Some keep driving even after the daylight get ruby-red.

Signal jumping is the biggest offence at this junction, he says. Everyone speculates, the light-headed has just swerved red, let me try to get through. Nothing wants to wait.

Prabhu jumps out and pennant down a motorbike that has just sped through the red light. He asks for the riders licence, then draws out a calculator-like device, and fumbles trying to enter his password into the new machine. Eventually he pierces in the licence figure and asks for a debit card to pay the 200 rupee( 2.40) fine.

Sometimes people refuse to give their driving licence. OK , no problem, we just employed their licence sheet multitude into the machine, and it will automatically send a fine to their phone, he says. This path we have a record of all the traffic offences each motorist has committed.

Milind
Milind Bharambe in his office

Until last month, congestion fines for even the most serious mistakes were issued on paper, with no way to check if a motorist was a repeat offender, says Baharambe. Weve been running the programme for just a few months, and already weve given out over 150,000 fines.

Bharambe seems a plausible candidate for the huge duty of modernising Mumbais archaic traffic policing structure. His office walls feature personas of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh as well as live stream of CCTV footage from around the city; on his wrist is an Apple watch. He has a black belt in karate, a 10 -year winning streak in state-wide shooting rivals, and a solid account as a policeman his achievements include setting up the rapid response crew during the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008. And he has a record of introducing tech-based initiatives as superintendent of police in Sangli and Thane, two metropolitans near Mumbai.

As well as digitising congestion offences, his contrive includes the more analogue solution of new hydraulic towing vans, which can move 4x4s until now, SUVs that had being severely parked or to participate in collisions had to be left on the road until their move moved them. He has also invested in digital signboards to remind about roadworks or accidents. This is the first time that something like this is being done in the country.

One floor below Bharambes office, Kishore Shinde, the traffic polices first heads of state of multimedia, is checking on duets of uniformed police officer these are the officers tasked with using the new CCTV cameras to issue tickets and fines remotely. Shinde too administers a new complaints mechanism, which receives more than 300 contents from thwarted motorists every day.

The biggest editions are traffic jams , no parking, accidents, and petroleum pours on the road leading, he says. Were making all the penalties cashless, so drivers can pay via debit card or mobile phone. We know there is corruption and bribery even in our own district, like there is from top to bottom everywhere in India. But formerly you offer by debit card, that means we have a record of the deal. No police officer can just take a cut for themselves.

A
A gentleman crosses in the torrent in Mumbai. Image: Rafiq Maqbool/ AP

Although digitising Mumbais traffic activities is a significant displacement that could improve efficiency and increase decay, Siddharth Pandya, brother of Archana, disbelieves it will have much impact on the death toll. Nothing has changed, he says. Many of the CCTVs police installed before are not fully insisted or dont make, so why would it be different now? Where Archana was killed there was a CCTV camera, but it was broken, so we never found out who stumbled her.

Bharambe, for his part, argues that Mumbais collision statistics gaze worse than other Indian municipalities because the Mumbai police are better at recording coincidences. He argues that Delhi has four times as many vehicles as Mumbai but barely enters any no-injury coincidences, in a deliberate effort to keep gate-crash statistics low-pitched. He likewise points to inefficiency, corrupt practices and bureaucratic procedure within a complex web of urban development authorities. We have to keep cleaning up their mess, he says.

Harish Wahi, director of road safety NGO Equal Streets, is of the view that the citys traffic problems move even deeper.

South Bombay was built in British colonial times, and all of new Bombay has taken condition very quickly, post-1 980 s. Because of the accelerate of that raise, the planning and excellence of roads has extended. On crest of that, pavements are intruded upon by hawkers or browses, so pedestrians have no choice but to walk on busy streets.

Prabhu, trafficking in human beings cop on Mumbais marina, says police are accused unfairly for street extinctions. I am literally on my hoofs the whole era. I barely sit down. The problem is the public doesnt want to drive properly they are only want to reach their destination as fast as possible.

Bharambe admits that his digital drive is simply like to reduce extinctions by a small fraction. The beings likewise have to take some responsibility, he says. Look, two summers ago , nothing of the people on motorbikes were wearing helmets. Now, since weve started executing[ helmet wearing ], youll realise most of the drivers have their helmets. But youll still appreciate men who are driving their motorbikes wearing helmets themselves, but the bride and children sitting behind them are not. Now tell me, if parties themselves are taking such risks with their own familys lives, then what can we do?

Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion, and explore our repository here

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here