In a country like India, which reports more traffic fatalities than anywhere else, managing thousands of restless, untrained and a growing number of motorists poses a huge challenge for the traffic officials. With the help of technology and social networking sites like Facebook, officials are hoping that they will be able to police better. Currently, the page has more than 400 online followers and many offenders have already been challaned. Senior traffic inspector, Saifuddin Beg monitors his department’s Facebook page and marks workable suggestions from the public, which are then printed and kept in his file for reference. “Facebook has increased our powers,” said Beg. “If a policeman is not around, the general tendency is to jump a traffic signal or drive through a no-entry barrier or park in a no-parking zone. But now awareness is spreading and offenders have a feeling that someone else is watching them. Also, citizens feel empowered as we take action on the photos and information they upload,” he added.
Many issues are being taken care of online itself. Ejaz Masud wrote: “Defective number plate. Location: crossing just before the Nithari T-point signal (intersection of road coming from Spice Mall and Maharaja Agrasen Marg/Ashok Marg), Date: 02062011, Time: 09:08 a.m. Also, this is a personal vehicle seems like being used for commercial purpose. The van was packed with different types of people.” The response of the Noida police was: “Thank you. Action being taken.” Another citizen Harshdeep Rapal wrote: “Most of the people visiting Atta Market park their vehicles below the sector 18 Metro Station. This creates a bottle neck for the movement of the traffic. I hope, like any other passerby, you would have already noticed it. Any plans to improve the same? The response of the police was: “Thanks. But I think the situation is improved as traffic personnel deputed in the evenings.”
Many people are also making appeals via the Facebook page urging road users to follow traffic rules besides giving suggestions, feedback and registering complaints. Citizens are also complaining about errant traffic police officers and posting their pictures on the page. The traffic police as per Beg will soon book violators, issue challans and charge fines on the profile as well. “We are in the process of installing software which will track violators through their vehicle registration numbers, the photos of which we get on the Facebook page,” said the police officer.