11[2]In a move to check some common road traffic violations, the Karachi traffic police authorities have announced imprisonment for up to two years for those breaking the rules regarding traffic signals, one-way traffic and travel on the rooftop of buses and coaches.

The decision was made in line with the traffic reforms recently introduced by DIG-traffic Dr Amir Sheikh.

However, the official statement that mentioned only three kinds of traffic violations lacked details about the measures taken to curb other violations.

“From Aug 10, the traffic police have decided to get imprisonment of six months to two years for the violators of one way, traffic signals and those buses allowing passengers to travel on rooftops of buses and coaches from courts of traffic magistrates,” said the statement.

As there was no word from the traffic high-ups to target certain violations, traffic police officials were of the opinion that the decision was kind of a beginning to address public transport segment in the first phase that would be expanded to other violations of the traffic rules.

“If things move the way as they are planned, the situation will become quite better,” said an official, citing reasons behind the announcement for stern measures.

“When the helmets were made mandatory, there was a criticism from several segments but it proved effective and now majority is following the rule. That law was not new as it’s already mentioned in Motor Vehicle Ordinance. Section 189-A of the Ordinance also binds the pillion rider to wear helmet.”

Asked about the later decision to exempt women riding pillion, he said the traffic police authorities were not in favor of the exemption. It was offered by the inspector general of Sindh police only to avoid criticism from some individuals and organisations, which was ‘unfortunate’, he said. “There were 13 accidents involving women as pillion riders reported in 2014. Eight of those 13 women died on the spot. The decision was made only for the safety of riders, not to benefit anyone,” the official added.

Helmet-wearing has been declared mandatory for motorcyclists, including pillion-riders, in Karachi since June 1, 2015.

“The recent measures have been designed to fix traffic problems in Karachi. It requires the role of every institution concerned including Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Sindh Building Control Authority and law-enforcement agencies,” added the official.