Across the world, a motorist is expected to diligently follow road signages, but in Delhi, doing so may actually land you in jail. A study, conducted on 14 major stretches of the national capital measuring around 85 km, has shown that these faulty signages may actually be behind traffic violations and the resulting accidents. Nearly 70 percent of such signs are wrongly designed and placed, the study says. Conducted by the Delhi-based Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), the study has found that of around 1,514 regulatory, warning and information signages on the surveyed stretch, 1,098 (75 percent) do not meet the prescribed norms.
Regulatory signages, like STOP signs, are to be mandatorily followed while warnings signs are used to alert a driver of potential dangers ahead. Information signages provide information about distance, landmarks etc. Depending on the category they fall in, these signages differ in terms of shape, size, and color. But in Delhi, they have been interchangeably used, the report pointed out, which end up misleading motorists. Similarly, it was also found that most of the primary and secondary traffic signals at intersections were not functioning as per the prescribed standards or are wrongly installed.
“One of the major deficiencies was short blinking green signals used instead of an amber signal. The duration of amber clearance before the red light appears is so short that in present conditions a large percentage of drivers are being caught without any fault,” IRTE president Rohit Baluja said. The IRTE said the proposed Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2016, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha, stipulates penalties such as the imprisonment of up to one year and fine extending up to Rs 5,000 for violating certain signages. “Motorists will be liable to be prosecuted due to such faulty road signs and signals, which will defeat the very purpose of the provisions of the new legislation,” Baluja said.
The IRTE said the faulty signs did not meet the laid out requirements of the Indian Road Congress (IRC) codes and the United Nations Convention of Road Signs and Signals, 1968, of which India is a contracting party. Out of the 1,514 signs, 801, which comes to 54 per cent, were inserted within rectangular boards of either blue or yellow colors. “Blue color is only permitted for compulsory regulatory signs as well as facility information signs. Yellow colors are not prescribed by IRC except in construction zones,” it said. It pointed out that the Public Works Department used blue outer boards while NDMC has taken the liberty of using yellow as insertion boards, making the signage “more of fashion and show rather than for regulation and warning”.