The Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has taken decisive action by suspending the driving licenses of 698 individuals for varying durations, ranging from three to six months, due to their repeated violations of road regulations this year. This stringent measure, supported by recommendations from the traffic police, is aimed at bolstering road safety within the city. The primary objectives are to instill discipline among road users and cultivate a sense of responsibility towards adhering to traffic laws.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Vijaykumar Magar, elaborated on the consequences of license suspension, stating that offending individuals will be prohibited from operating vehicles for the duration of their suspension. If caught driving during this period, they face a hefty fine of Rs5,000, and their vehicles may be impounded under the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act. Moreover, they can be prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code for reckless and negligent driving without a valid license, potentially leading to criminal charges.
Magar emphasized that since March, the traffic police have been submitting proposals to the RTO, highlighting the cases of 100-150 habitual traffic violators who committed two or more offenses monthly. These recommendations have prompted the RTO to take action by either suspending or confiscating the licenses of these repeat offenders, effectively discouraging them from driving during their suspension periods.
Assistant Regional Transport Officer Yuvraj Patil explained that the duration of license suspension depends on the nature of the offense. Cases involving signal jumping, driving without helmets, wrong-side driving, and triple-seat riding result in a 90-day suspension. However, for drunk driving cases, the suspension period extends to 180 days. In all instances, the licenses are confiscated, and offenders are notified via text message that they are not permitted to operate their vehicles.
Patil further clarified that once the suspension period concludes, violators may regain their driving privileges. However, individuals convicted of drunk driving must undergo vehicle fitness re-evaluation by RTO officials and pass a driving test, requiring a fee of Rs300. Successful completion of this test enables them to legally drive again, whereas failure results in license revocation.
Aarti Sonagra, President of the Nagar Road Citizens' Forum, expressed her support for the RTO's actions, acknowledging that simply imposing fines was proving ineffective as a deterrent. She suggested that amendments to the MV Act should be considered to introduce more stringent penalties for repeat offenders. Sonagra emphasized that effective law enforcement by the traffic police, coupled with comprehensive awareness campaigns, could play a pivotal role in shaping responsible road behavior. She also advocated for the inclusion of traffic rule education in schools and colleges to promote a culture of road safety from a young age.