Honk, honk! Honking too needs ITP attention
By Imran Naeem Ahmad
ISLAMABAD: As Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) prepare to crack down on motorists not wearing seatbelts, using cell phones and those going on high beam at night, another aspect that requires as much attention is that of unnecessary honking.
From the start of next month, violators of the first three offences will be issued tickets in a bid to reduce the number of accidents in the town, yet uncalled for honking or tooting is not part of the plan.
While indeed getting tough on the trio of violations is going to be a big step forward for the ITP that have come a long way over the last two years, the chronic problem of honking needs to be addressed too.
In this light, the ITP’s efforts have remained largely focussed on curbing the use of pressure horns – a favourite toy of the transporters who once used it with impunity.
ITP Deputy Superintendent Hassan Raza told Daily Times that vehicles with pressure horns were fined Rs 300 and the device was confiscated. A similar fine applies on those honking in a “Silence Zone.”
Pictures of a road roller crushing scores of confiscated horns under its wheels in front of the ITP offices are regularly seen splashed in newspapers. However, nothing is done for tooting of the other kind with the metropolis ringing with a myriad of horns at all times.
Raza called upon motorists to act decently while driving. “Honking is indecent and should be used only when really required,” he said.
Be it the usually illiterate public transport drivers, the cabbies or people driving shiny new private cars – all seem guilty of uncalled for tooting while on road, no matter which part of the town they are going through.
Lack of road sense, restlessness and the urge to overtake are often cited as the reasons for unnecessary honking by the road users, who are oblivious to how irritating their act is for others.
The problem has not only disturbed the peace of the town but it has also given impetus to a culture that goes to show how fidgetiness has crept into the ranks of the drivers.
It does not matter who is behind the wheel – from the sophisticated-looking man to a lady who has one hand on her cell phone or a youngster out in his dad’s car or further still a lorry driver. Blowing horns has become a habit and a bad one indeed.
While it is understood that a motorist is permitted to honk when someone infringes on his right of way or does some other wrong, it is quite common while overtaking or as and when one pleases.
The ITP officials however are constrained by a dearth of resources in policing traffic that has grown at a rapid pace in recent years. “People expect California-style policing which is of course not possible given the shortage of staff, vehicles and equipment,” said an ITP official.
The traffic authorities want induction of 545 additional staff, 150 motorbikes, cars and other resources but it remains unclear when these demands would be met. Recently, the ITP have to purchase 50 wireless sets.