Traffic Automation System Gone Wrong? I Got Fined Rs 6400 between 1 Nov-31 Dec ’18 & All Violations at 11:11pm
- Traffic Automation System Gone Wrong? I Got Fined Rs 6400 between 1 Nov -31 Dec ’18, and Every Violation on various days between 1 November 2018-31 December 2018 at 11:11 pm? Believe it or Not -Strange but True- how can any violation happen at the same time (11:11 pm) on the days between 1 November 2018 until December 2018 end? And this report is for the kind attention of Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil, who has been quick in taking action against traffic issues, for which I very much compliment him- and also to the attention of ACP Manjunath Shetty and DCP Hanumantharaya. Sirs, hoping that you will rectify such issues, and see that such errors never happen again-Thank You!
Mangaluru: In June 2017, The city police inaugurated the Traffic Automation Centre, which was modeled on the lines of Bengaluru’s Traffic Management Centre, in order to keep a tab on traffic violations using CCTV cameras installed in 30 different locations in the city. It was explained during the inauguration that personnel will be watching the footage & take an image of the violator and then send a notice imposing a penalty on the owner of the vehicle. In case of repeat offenders, action will be taken to impound driving licence too. It was also mentioned that 93 CCTVs will be viewed by police personnel on video screens. Apart from CCTV cameras, the traffic police will be using 16 hand-held devices for recording traffic offences. The traffic policeman on the road will take an image of the violator and send it to the Traffic Automation Centre for issuance of notice imposing a fine. And that nearly Rs 1.39 crore was spent towards the purchase of 75 CCTV cameras and setting up of the Traffic Automation Centre, which was done under the Phase II of the M-TRAC (Mangaluru Traffic Improvement) project.
That was good news for all us that the traffic cops will crack down on motorists violating traffic rules etc. But unfortunately, later in the days and months came bad news for many motorists who were slapped with fines for violations that they didn’t commit, and just a couple of days I also found out that I too was a victim of this Traffic Automation Monitoring System incorrect information. I got seven Inland Letter Cards from enforcement automation center of Mangaluru City Police and the traffic violation was dated to 1st November 2018, but I received it on 27 April 2019 (postal stamp on them) and I wanted to verify the violation it said I have committed.
It was not just one letter for one violation, but I received seven letters for different violations all on 1 November 2018, and all of them happening at 11:11 pm. The violations were- 1) One Way/No entry Rs 100; 2) Defective Number Plate Rs 100; 3) Vehicle without Side Mirror Rs 100; 4) Carrying Excess Passenger Rs 100; 5) Racing and Trials of Speed Rs 500; 6) Driving Dangerously/Reckless-Two Wheelers Rs 300; 7) Triple Riding Rs 100. And since I was out of town, last evening only I saw all these letters. Wow- not only I was surprised, more than that I was fumed. Looking at all these violations, I was very much sure that someone in the police department had made a blunder or the Traffic Automation system was not working right.
Never in my life, I have taken three persons in my scooter, never had rode rash or recklessly, always had my side mirror no matter what, because I always see for traffic behind me in the side mirror, and the other nonsense violations slapped on me. As per the seven letters I received on 27 April, the fines for all the seven violations totaled up to Rs 1200. So this morning (1 May 2019) I made a visit to the Traffic Automation Centre located inside Kadri East Police station, and the two lady staff members were very courteous, friendly and very helpful in rectifying my issue- and when I introduced myself as younger brother Joseph aka Joe D’Souza, who is an ‘SOS’ man for the traffic dept in fixing their utility & other traffic equipment- both the lady cops were extra nice to me and started sleuthing more into my case.
Wow- while the lady cop pulled up my history on the computer screen, what a surprise? Some goofy cop had completely screwed my happiness by fining me every single day, starting from 1 November 2018 until December 2018 end, and the funny part was that all the violations were recorded at 11:11 pm. At that moment, my only guess was that the police personal had a few extra pegs, or could have hated me a lot? But on second thought, I didn’t think anyone in Mangaluru Police Departments would hate me to punish me in such a way- because I am always nice to these cops- and many a time, just like my elder brother, I treat them with water bottles when they slog in that scorching weather. But mind you, this gesture of mine is not to bribe them for favors in return- NEVER?
Remembering the dates of all these violations, and all of them at 11:11 pm, I don’t recall being in the vicinity (Kankanady/Mallikatta/Karavali Circle) of where they say the violations were committed. Isn’t it just my word against theirs if they don’t have any proof? Kind of ridiculous if you ask me. I’d once seen a traffic cop blindly snap pictures of numbers plates of parked vehicles. My second guess was that probably the City Police had to fill up their coffers by the year end, therefore might have found an innocent man to take advantage of, and screw me big time with Rs 6400 plus of fines.
So I asked the lady cop, that I wanted to see the footage and then only I will pay the fine- for which she said that they don’t have any CCTV footage of 2018. Oh, well then what? She then told me to fill out a cancellation of fines form (because the violations were absolutely not mine), which I did, (see picture), and I left the centre expressing my million thanks to the two lady cops at the Enforcement Traffic Automation centre for their courteousness and handling my issues. While in the parking lot of the police station, I met yet another person who had the same issues as me, where he was fined for violations not done by him in October 2018, and he said that someone from the police dept had created all this mess and that he has been transferred or fired from the job. So it seems like it was not only me who has been punished with these fines, there are many others too- and if you are the one who gets a letter for violations happened in 2018, go to the station and set things right- as I did.
A senior police officer, who wanted to remain anonymous said “There are times when the automated registration plate reading machines do make a mistake. If the alleged violator shares the proof that it was not his bike or car, we delete the complaint against them. This happens mostly when a bike or car bears a fancy number plate. The make of the vehicle is also recorded in the camera and we do check for such errors while taking the fine or if the person raises the issue with us. But we did had some issues of people getting fined for violations not done by them, it was due to someone’s negligence in 2018, and everything has been taken care of now”.
Yes, apart from me there are quite a few denizens of the City who are not happy with the Enforcement Traffic Automation System, an automated way of recognizing traffic rule violation as many have been fined for violations that they haven’t committed. Even though my issue was handled smoothly by the Centre today by the police staff there, but I still have a feeling that such issues still persist. Therefore, if a traffic violation notice/letter reaches your home door by mail, or a traffic cop stationed near busy traffic lights stops you for a previous violation, do check the fine is for an actual violation or an error in recording the registration number or go to the nearest police station and verify the violation on the CCTV footage.