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Cops crack down on vehicles with tinted glasses

Add comment June 15th, 2009

MUMBAI: The traffic police has started a sustained campaign against vehicles with tinted glasses, particularly in south and central Mumbai. Dr A B Road, Girgaum Chowpatty and Senapati Bapat Marg are some of the roads where cops have been regularly cracking down on errant vehicles.

“Every traffic division has one officer who has received special training in operating a machine which measures the transparency of tinted glass in percentage points. A team of two officers works in shifts,” an official said. Ever since the drive started, the police have registered over a dozen cases daily at each chowky.

“If the transparency is below the mandatory mark, the vehicle owners have to cough up a fine of Rs 100. If they are unable to pay the fine, their licenses are confiscated and they are asked to change the glass in two days,” the officer said.

According to the Central Motor Vehicles Rule, 1989, vehicles fitted with dark glasses or tinted glasses need to have 50% transparency on the side windows and 75% transparency on the front and rear windows.

Between January and April, the traffic police registered cases against 10,220 vehicles for having tinted glasses and collected Rs 7.14 lakh in fines.

Anil Thakker, chairman of the Traffic Committee, Western India Automobile Association (WIAA), said, “The rationale behind the rule is that the driver of the vehicle should be visible. Also, manufacturers of the glass are aware of the traffic rules and regulations. But if there are so many cases, then people may be adding more films to reduce the transparency. They should try to adhere to this rule.”

25 injured as bus overturns in Maharashtra

Add comment June 15th, 2009

Mumbai: Atleast 25 persons were injured when the bus they were travelling in turned turtle on the Vile Parle highway in Maharashtra on Sunday. he accident took place at around 5.35 a.m.

There were 35 passengers in the bus who were being taken from Shirdi to Borivli. “We saw the bus turning turtle. There were about 30-35 passengers in it. They all were crying for help. There were ladies and gents. We broke the rear glass of the bus and took the passengers out,” said an eyewitness, Vijay.

All the injured have been admitted to a nearby hospital.

Police said they are investigating the cause of the accident.

Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai to open shortly

Add comment April 30th, 2009

MUMBAI – Bandra-Worli sea link, an ambitious eight-lane twin carriageway, is to be opened shortly in Mumbai.

The 5.6 kilometers long cable-stayed bridge has been designed to allow for speedy road travel between Bandra and Worli in the busy and traffic-ridden city of Mumbai.

This sea bridge would reduce road travel time from one hour to seven minutes.

“This bridge will save our time. We will be able to reach Worli in 10 to 15 minutes,” said Zafar Iqbal Khan, a resident.

Mahim causeway is currently the only link connecting the island city of Mumbai with its western suburbs and the 7 km stretch has witnessed intense traffic congestion for years.

An estimated 120,000 vehicles travel on the Mahim causeway everyday and during peak hours it takes about forty minutes to travel from Mahim causeway to Worli, a distance of about 8 km.

Once the rupees 16.4 billion sea link project is commissioned, it will be an additional link from the western suburbs to the island city and will act as a high-speed alternative to the congested Mahim causeway.

Residents feel that the new bridge would turn out to be an architectural wonder.

“This bridge reminds me of the Howrah bridge in Kolkata. More or less, it is designed the same way. It will be one of the fantastic works done in Mumbai,” said Alexander Philip, another resident.

The Bandra-Worli sea link would be equipped with state-of-the-art systems for traffic monitoring, emergency support and an automated toll system.

Drunk driving laws need major reform: Lawyers

Add comment May 7th, 2007

Mumbai: In Mumbai, Alistair Pareira gets 180 days for killing seven people in a drunken-driving episode. In the US, Paris Hilton gets 45 days for violating parole conditions, which included a suspended licence, after being arrested last year for driving under the influence of alcohol.

There is no link between the two incidents and yet there is. The long arm of the law works more effectively in one country and there are no guesses which one.

In India, given the high death rate due to road accidents, there is a growing demand from activists and legal experts for a more stringent law for driving under influence (DUI) of alcohol or DUI offences, as it is referred to in most Western countries. Maharashtra alone recorded over 10,000 road fatalities in 2006.

The lack of stringent laws is best illustrated by the Alistair Pareira case. In the UK, for instance, Pareira would have attracted a maximum of 14 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a cancellation of his driving licence for two years. The sessions judge did say that Pareira was driving carelessly and was drunk but let him off on the more serious offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder which attracts 10 years, and instead sent him to jail for six months.

Laws are far more stringent for DUI offences in most developed countries, where rash driving is treated as a serious crime. In Australia, for instance, the police have powers to stop motorists randomly and subject him or her to a breath analyzer without reason. In the US and UK though the police have to give reasons for the breath analyzer test. In India, the breath analyzer is only occasionally used (traffic police in most cities are not equipped with new machines); and a new law on confiscation of a driving licence if any one fails the test is only being contemplated.

The incidence of drunken driving in the West has reduced as a result of tough laws, which set an example. For instance, barely days ago, prosecutors in Los Angeles had filed misdemeanour charges, including drunk driving, against rapper-actress Eve over a traffic accident in Hollywood. Eve was a 2001 Grammy award winner along with Gwen Stefani. In most countries, including India, the permissible blood alcohol limit is 0.05 %—it is lower in case of learners and certain other categories in other countries—and Eve’s test showed up 0.08. She faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. But a statutory minimum sentence would include a minimum of three years probation, a fine of at least $390 and an alcohol education program.

The world over, drunken driving is an offence that also attracts demerit points and a graded punishment that could see the driver losing his licence. In comparison, in India, punishment for the first offence for ‘driving under influence’ of alcohol is a maximum sentence of six months or a fine of Rs 2,000. If a driver gets caught again within three years, he could attract up to two years in jail or a Rs 3,000 fine. These measures, as they stand, are clearly ineffective, say experts. Legal delays ensure that the jail sentence is often an empty threat, and the prescribed fine is barely a deterrent.

Fatal accidents caused by a drunk driver are not even classified as a separate offence under Indian law although Maharashtra has woken up to the dangers of drinking and driving and is now stepping on the gas to make fatal accidents or accidents resulting in grievous injuries a non-bailable offence punishable by at least seven years in jail.

Experts say what is needed is a graded system of punishment for drunk driving cases not involving accidents, as in the UK, Australia, and Switzerland. “The need is to ensure that no person who has consumed alcohol above permissible limits be allowed to drive,” said Mahesh Jethmalani who adds that the idea of punishment is not and should not be vendetta, the aim is to reform people. He suggests a point system for repeat offences and revocation of licences. The only practical difficulty with this idea is that the traffic records are still not computerised and hence it is difficult to track the offender and the multiple offences. Noted defence counsel V R Manohar too says that laws in India need to be amended and fast.


In the UK, the first driving under influence (DUI) offence can earn the driver demerit points; accumulation of such points can result in a suspension or cancellation of driving licence. In Canada, for the first DUI offence, the laws call for a $600 fine and one-year driving prohibition or jail time; the second DUI offence attracts a 14-day jail term and two years of driving prohibition. There are similar provisions in Victoria and New Zealand. A licence once cancelled in Australia can be re-issued on court orders but the driver is placed at zero tolerance for next three years.

Source: TOI(Mumbai epaper)

Peddar Road flyover must wait till others are complete

Add comment May 5th, 2007

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is likely to first finish the construction of seven flyovers on Dr B.R. Ambedkar Road before it commences work on the Peddar Road flyover. This is expected to take some time and further delay the Peddar Road flyover project.

HT has learnt that MSRDC officials have suggested that work on the Peddar Road flyover begin only once the Ambedkar Road flyovers are ready in 15 months.

The 3-km viaduct on Peddar Road was part of the 55 flyovers planned by the Shiv Sena-BJP government in 1996. But it has since been delayed largely due to residents’ protests.

The corporation on Friday said it would not work on both the roads simultaneously as that would effectively cut off South Mumbai from the suburbs. Both Dr B.R. Ambedkar Road — which stretches from Sion Circle to Crawford Market — and Peddar Road — which connects Haji Ali to Chowpatty — link the island city to the suburbs.

MSRDC Chairman and Public Works Minister Anil Deshmukh said the matter was discussed at a meeting called by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday. “We apprised the CM of all the possibilities,” he said. “We haven’t taken a final decision, but we cannot take up all the projects at one time because it would cut off South Mumbai.”.

He added that it was brought to the CM’s notice that traffic on Peddar Road would have to be diverted to Ambedkar Road if work on that flyover begins. However, seven flyovers are already under construc tion on Ambedkar Road, which means work on Peddar Road will have to wait.

Deshmukh said the CM was also told about new technology that would be used on the Peddar Road flyover in response to some of the objections raised by residents’ association. For instance, vision barriers would be used to block the sight of vehicles moving along the flyover to maintain residents’ privacy.

  • Proposed Peddar Road flyover to stretch from Haji Ali to Wilson College
  • Construction of the 3-km flyover is likely to be delayed by 15 months
  • MSRDC told Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh that it cannot simultaneously work on Dr B.R. Ambedkar Road and Peddar Road as that will cut off South Mumbai from suburbs

Source : HT (epaper)

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