26 February 2008

Jakarta Traffic

This one is for the cynic in me. The police in Jakarta have conducted a 10-day operation in which they were targeting motorists who were breaching traffic laws and regulations. The underlying premise of this operation was to improve driver discipline. No drama there and good luck on the discipline front!

However, it is reported that the good police officers recorded more than 18,000 violations of prevailing traffic laws and regulations -- no shock there either! It is reported that from these 18,000 plus violations a mere 2,948 tickets / citations were issued. So, this means that there were more than 15,000 friendly warnings issued to the not so law-abiding motorists. One must assume that these 15,000+ offences were not so serious as to warrant a ticket.

But here is the thing, and this is the cynic in me, I have not come across that many police who are into free friendly warnings. My personal experience has always been that a free friendly warning always involves a "transaction" either a ticket or the Soeharto get out of jail free card, that nice blue IDR 50K note! The value of the transaction generally depends on the seriousness of the offence. The reason people pay is simple; going to court is a hassle and the payment to court officials is not any less! If you want to read about this practice there are plenty of descriptions on the web and a simple Google search will lead you to many of them.

The even more cynical me generally thinks that perhaps there were considerably more violations than the 18,000+ noted and that these were not recorded for whatever reason!

There is no doubt that motorists in Jakarta and more generally in Indonesia need to get some discipline happening but this is not gonna happen with operations like this no matter how many official and unofficial tickets are issued. The reality is there needs to be better technology to track people with driving licenses and cars. There also needs to be better enforcement; simply people who violate the law enough times in 12 months lose their license. If they get caught driving without a licence they pay a huge fine and if they get caught twice they pay an even bigger fine and if they get caught a third time then they should automatically enjoy the hospitality of the State in prison!

The government needs to install red light cameras and be active in fining people and taking their licenses away when they do not pay.

Perhaps an incentive system for police to catch and ticket people properly could be implemented. Although, an incentive system like this is susceptible to corrupt policing it would not be any more corrupt than the system now. Motorists could still contest the fine!

This sort of system would also alleviate employment and perhaps even transport issues in the capital, people losing licenses means they need to employ new drivers, hence increasing employment opportunities, or leave the car at home and therefore there are less cars on the road! A winner either way!

Likelihood of happening -- Zero! Yep, the big "0"...

No comments: