Sanjeev Kotnala: Traffic Campaigns – because ‘We are like that only’

12 Feb,2020

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Whenever I see a campaign by traffic police, I wonder why Indians do not obey simple laws?

Most likely we know, in India we will get away with it. Moreover, we see everyone breaking the law. It is not the best of the excuse, but then ‘We are Like that only’.

Jokes apart, the civic sense in the country is missing.

Police represent the civil authority of government. It is typically responsible for maintaining public order and safety by enforcing the law. The responsibility extends to preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities. In short, they are to protect the people and the property. Yet, citizens seem not to respect the laws from any angle, be it Uniformed officers, Detectives, Highway Patrol, Traffic, Tourist, Railways and even border Police. tAll of them keep trying for corrective action and at times threatening the law-breakers with penalties.

Time to time, traffic and city police do run special drive and challan the offenders. ‘Drink and Drive’, ‘Helmet’, ‘Honking’ and ‘Traffic rule violations’ are some subjects Indian Police run campaigns on continuously in an attempt to help change the predictable behaviour.

There has been some success. However, traffic Police have more often failed than succeeded in their efforts. We all contribute to this failure by our actions and inaction.

SAAM ( Logic), DAAM ( Price/penalty), DAND ( Punishment) and BHEDH ( difference) – the four pillars of persuasiveness and behaviour moulding and Police have used all of them. However, we have remained true to our DNA, ‘we are like that only’.

The heightened penalties have been foolishly contested and toned town, withdrawn, or the Police has been asked to look the other way.

Here are some of the efforts.

If we can behave appropriately, maybe this money could find some other better use.

I am not discussing ‘Drink and Drive’ as it has been discussed many times- and as they say- right now is the time for it. And you can see many good campaigns here at the ‘bored panda’.

One of the most talked-about campaigns on traffic rules has been the one featuring Akshay Kumar. It takes on the simple catchphrase ‘Mera Baap Kaun Hai’ and turns it around into humorous situations. We all saw it, loved it, laughed at it and then broke a rule as per need and convenience.

Recently Mumbai Police tried using technology to get their point across to the travellers who never behaved right. They took action against un-necessary honking, even when the light is not green. So, if you honked and the collective sound crossed a pre-identified decibel threshold, the traffic light counter would reset to original. The more you honk. More, you are delayed.


Chandigarh Police is seen as one of the most efficient and unbiased. They are neither impressed by your network nor interested in knowing ‘Trea Baap Kaun Hai’. Here is their attempt to use music to pass on the message on traffic rule violations.


And this is not the first time. Earlier the Chandigarh police had focussed on illegal, unauthorised parking. Now that they have done it twice, I would like to believe it is effective and not because Chandigarh Police force is interested in singing.


Many times Police and other NGOs try innovative methods. Such, videos go viral. However, the way they are shared and appreciated, one would think they will be making an impact. The ground reality shows there is no difference. Here is an example of Air-hostess at Indore humorously relaying the message.


Here is the Singapore police ad for road courtesy. It is informative; however, don’t think it has been as effective as the ‘fines’ in the fine city.


REDFM tried making people understand what ZEBRA crossing is all about with ‘Walk The Haq’ campaign. It was shared a lot. However, there was no change in behaviour. It is an irony that there are hardly any roads with properly painted Zebra crossing. The only time we saw people stop was when the high penalties were imposed before most states rolled them back.


YAMRAJ has been called into action in various campaigns and here is Hyderabad police using him to drive home the message. Even Mumbai railway police have used Yamraj for people crossing railway tracks.

So, hoping that we do put hefty fines on people breaking these simple rules. And well, here is to more campaigns knowing that ‘we are like that only’. Or I am wrong and this is a perfect case of  ‘Perceptions are adulterated with reality’.



Just to close on a good note. Watch this dancing cop from Indore. He is totally devoted to his job and enjoying his work.

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