Chandigarh: Police have been urged to change their attitudes to women after it was revealed that female drivers are dodging fines and escaping punishment for traffic offences.
According to statistics, in the last three years only four tickets were issued to women for drunk driving compared to bookings for 4,000 men, while 38 women were fined for not wearing seatbelts but more than 18,000 men were prosecuted.
Six women were issued tickets for triple-riding while the figure for men was 3,500 and only 60 women were fined for speeding compared to 6,000 men. One hundred and 10 women were hauled up for jumping red lights against 40,000 men.
Chandigarh, which has the highest vehicle density in the country — more than 800,000 registered vehicles for a population of just over one million — has a large number of women driving cars and two-wheelers.
“We are keeping a close tab on women violators but in most of the cases, they prefer to play smart,” said deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Kamaldeep Singh. “They try to take advantage when there is no policewoman. But we are trying to make sure that a policewoman is present near the challaning [issuing traffic tickets] spot so that offenders are not let off.”
Some senior officers claim that, in the majority of cases, women try to influence the policemen.
“It is always difficult to handle women violators,” said a senior police officer, who asked not to be identified. “They try to influence our men by calling their family members, men friends or an NGO. Chandigarh is a small place and most people know someone influential.”
He said that he himself occasionally gets requests from friends requesting him to urge the traffic police to spare offenders. “It is embarrassing at times, but people do it,” he said.
Social activists in the field of streamlining the traffic flow to control accidents have demanded that women offenders should be booked on a par with men.
Harman Singh Sidhu, who runs the NGO Arrive Safe, said: “We have observed that there has been a soft corner for women drivers among the police. When they are caught for traffic rules violations, they are able to go scot free for various reasons.
“There is a common procedure for issuing driving licences to men and women and the traffic rules are also same. So, there should be the same parameters for challaning and punishing both men and women.”