This article originally appeared on VICE India.
It’s been a little more than a week since the Motor Vehicles Act amendment, that aimed to make traffic rules stricter and hold those who break them more accountable, and it’s already making everyone pay the price for their mistakes.
The amended Act has substantially increased the penalty for everything from driving without a license (inviting a fine up to Rs 5,000 or US$69.86) to not wearing your seatbelt (Rs 1,000 or US$13.97) to drunk driving (Rs 10,000 or US$ 139.72), with incidents of challans of Rs 80,000 (US$1,117.76) to Rs 1.4 lakh (US$1,956.08) being issued ruthlessly to rule-breakers, regardless of their financial capacity. Some are so afraid of shelling out cash that they’re pulling out all the stops, with one man even seen driving around in his car with a helmet on. But one man in the city of Vadodara in Gujarat has outdone them all, proving that Indians truly are the masters of jugaad (hacks).
Insurance agent Ram Shah has stuck his licence and other documents like registration certificate, Pollution Under Check (PUC) certificate and insurance slip on his helmet. Probably because his profession requires him to do everything to ensure that money is not wrongly given out, Shah decided that the best way to avoid coughing up cash was to quite literally stick to the rules.
"This way I am never hassled on the road and I don’t have to pay any fine ever,” he told India Today. In an interview with ANI, he said “After seeing my helmet, I was once approached by a traffic police officer who appreciated me. It serves two purposes, I will never forget my documents at home and it will also encourage people to wear a helmet while driving.”
Meanwhile, Gujarat government is working towards stricter implementation of the new rules but also reducing the fine rates on humanitarian grounds.
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