One person is killed on Mumbais streets every 15 hours, the worst record in India. In our efforts to get a clutch on the chaos, the police are get digital recording penalties electronically and installing CCTV. But will it stop people taking jeopardies?

For 30 hours after she was hit, Archana Pandya lay bleeding on a street in the busy Mumbai suburb of Goregaon. The 22 -year-old, who had just started a new job, was on her room dwelling from project 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 that are unsafe.

Pandya was one of 586 beings killed in road accidents in Mumbai in 2015, the equivalent of one demise every 15 hours. Another 2,034 were seriously injured. The long response times of ambulances and disaster vehicles, working together with the unwillingness of spectators to facilitate superhighway preys for fright of being detained by police and infirmaries, contribute to slow, unpleasant extinctions for hundreds of people each year. As a develop, Mumbai a city with roughly the same number of cars as London, but more than four times the number of superhighway fatalities has become known as Indias crash capital. In 2015 there were 23,468 registered transaction crashes: the highest level of the two countries.

The citys city geography has helped engender a culture of foolhardy driving. Autoes zigzag through dense traffic jams, cutting thoroughfares, engulf from the left or zipping past red lights. Operators know that criminal penalties are small and the the possibility of getting caught are low. Many scoff at the idea of wearing a seatbelt, while others casually take telephone calls and react textbook words as they steer through the maze of cars.

These lax attitudes and dangerous driving garbs are spawned right from the driving exam, which exists mainly as a formality and is readily smoothed with a small bribe. Aditi Deopujari, a Mumbai resident who got her driving licence in 2000, illustrates: I was part of a driving institution that had a setup with the Motor Vehicles Department[ which issues licences ]. I testified up and had some pattern rounds, but never had to sit the exam or had any written test regarding the rules. I just got handed the licence. Another resident, who asked to remain anonymous, pronounces: I literally had to drive five metres forwards, and then five metres alter. That was it, I passed.

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

In an attempt to get a grip on the chaos, Milind Bharambe, the head of the traffic police, is is president of a brand-new traffic control venture. The municipality has given all traffic cops electronic designs to problem penalties, and has installed 4,000 CCTV cameras at conjugations and signals. After five abuses, we are going to start taking away licences, supposes Bharambe, whose plan to digitise the traffic control organization takes clues from Prime Minister Narendra Modis digital India programme.

Watch, tells police officer Prashant Prabhu, motioning towards a traffic light at a busy junction on the Mumbai marina. Across the road, the light-headed is about to go from light-green to ruby-red. But just as he predicts, automobiles accelerate through, hoping to cross the signal as the yellowed lights. Some keep driving even after the flare moves red-faced.

Signal jumping is the biggest offence at this seam, he adds. Everyone envisages, the light has just transformed blood-red, let me to continue efforts to get through. None wants to wait.

Prabhu rushes out and flags down a motorbike that has just sped through the red light. He asks for the riders licence, then pulls out a calculator-like design, and flubs trying to enter his password into the new machine. Eventually he perforates in the licence number and asks for a charge card to pay the 200 rupee( 2.40) penalty.

Sometimes parties refuse to give their driving licence. OK , no problem, we just placed their licence illustration multitude into the machine, and it will automatically send a fine to their phone, he adds. This room we have a record of all the traffic offences each driver has committed.

Milind Bharambe in his office

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

Bharambe seems a credible campaigner for the huge duty of modernising Mumbais archaic traffic patrolling organization. His office walls feature epitomes 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 triumphing streak in state-wide shooting contenders, and a solid record as a policeman his achievements include setting up the rapid response crew during the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008. And he has a history of introducing tech-based initiatives as superintendent of police in Sangli and Thane, two municipalities near Mumbai.

As well as digitising transaction offences, his program includes the more analogue mixture of brand-new hydraulic towing vans, which can move 4x4s until now, SUVs that had been badly parked or involved in collisions had to be left on the road until their move moved them. He has also invested in digital signboards to advise 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 firstly head of multimedia, is checking on pairs of uniformed police officers these are the officers tasked with using the brand-new CCTV cameras to issue tickets and penalties remotely. Shinde also oversees a new complaint mechanism, which receives more than 300 themes from foiled operators every day.

The biggest concerns are traffic jams , no parking, accidents, and petroleum runs on the road, he reads. Were making all the fines cashless, so operators can compensate 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 once you pay by charge card, that means we have a record of the busines. No police officer can just take a cut for themselves.

A person traverses in the torrent in Mumbai. Photograph: Rafiq Maqbool/ AP

Although digitising Mumbais traffic runnings is a significant shift that could improve efficiency and shorten fraud, Siddharth Pandya, brother of Archana, disbelieves it will have much impact on the death toll. Good-for-nothing has changed, he reads. Many of the CCTVs police installed before are not properly insisted or dont wreak, 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 punched her.

Bharambe, for his part, highlights the fact that Mumbais collision statistics examine worse than other Indian metropolis because the Mumbai police are better at registering accidents. He highlights the fact that Delhi has four times as many vehicles as Mumbai but barely evidences any no-injury accidents, in a deliberate effort to keep accident statistics low-toned. He also points to mismanagement, corrupt practices and red tape within a complex web of urban development authorities. We have to keep cleaning up their mess, he alleges.

Harish Wahi, administrator of road safety NGO Equal Streets, thinks that the citys transport problems lead even deeper.

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

Prabhu, the traffic polouse on Mumbais marina, alleges police are blamed unfairly for superhighway fatalities. I am literally on my paws the whole daylight. I just sit down. The problem is the public doesnt wishes to drive properly they are only want to reach their destination as fast as possible.

Bharambe admits that his digital drive is exclusively like to reduce demises by a small fraction. The parties too have to take specific responsibilities, he reads. Look, two years ago , nothing of the people on motorbikes were wearing helmets. Now, since weve started executing[ helmet wearing ], youll see most of the operators have their helmets. But youll still watch men who are driving their motorbikes wearing helmets themselves, but the bride and children sitting behind them are not. Now tell me, if people 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


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here