Being asked to pull over by a traffic police is something every driver experiences at least once. It is the job of a traffic policeman to maintain smooth movement of traffic on the roads. He/she also prevents any rule breaking. However, many of us would not be aware of the reason why we are being asked to pull over. This is when one should be aware of their rights and maintain their cool.
Rights Of A Commuter In India:
There are a lot of misconceptions about the power of traffic policemen. The myths surrounding the rights of commuters are also in plenty. Here are some of the rights a commuter should be aware of:
- The traffic policeman cannot seize your driving license unless you have broken the rules. Jumping the red light at a traffic signal, driving under the influence of alcohol, overloading the vehicle, and using a mobile phone while driving are some of the common traffic offences seen in India.
- If you have committed a traffic offence, you should be able to furnish your valid driving license, pollution under control (PUC) certificate, and car insurance papers upon being asked to do so.
- A policeman will be in uniform with his/her name and buckle number clearly displayed. Ensure you are showing your papers to a uniformed officer only.
- The police will not tow your car unless you vacate it.
- In case you are a female and have been stopped by the police after 6 p.m., you can request for a female cop to physically search you.
- The traffic police will not force you out of the vehicle or take away your car keys.
- The traffic police should have an e-challan machine or a challan book to fine you. The cop is not allowed to impose a fine without this.
- In case you have violated the law and have been arrested, you will be taken to the police station. If you are detained, you can be brought to court within 24 hours.
- The traffic police has absolute authority on the road. You should follow his/her instructions promptly.
What To Do When A Traffic Police Asks You To Pull Over:
If you have been asked to pull over by a traffic cop, you should stop your car and park it to the side of the road. Also, provide the required documents.
- You may ask the reason for being pulled over. But remember to remain calm and not get into an argument. If you feel there was a genuine reason for your action, explain it to the officer while maintaining your composure. You can seek his pardon, following which he may let you off with a warning.
- Do not talk about your influence or camaraderie with influential people.
- If your driving license has been confiscated by the cop, you may pay the fine on the spot or at the police station. In case the fine is not paid, you will be provided a court notice. Failing to appear before the court can result in the issuance of an arrest warrant against you.
- Do not attempt to bribe the officer.
- The traffic police can stop you and request for a breath test. They do this when they think that you are driving after consuming alcohol. If you refuse to take the breath test without having a reasonable excuse, you can be arrested. The breath test provides results instantly. If it shows that you have not crossed the drink drive limit, you may be allowed to leave. On the other hand, if you fail the breath test, you will have to go to the police station and give a final breath test before paying the penalty. The officer may also ask you to undergo a drug test if he/she thinks you are under the influence of drugs.
If a prosecution slip is handed over to you, you should check to see if the following information is provided on the slip:
- Details of the offence
- Name and address of the court where you will undergo trial
- Date of the trial
- Details of the car
- Your name and address
- The name and signature of the police officer
- The list of documents that have been retained by the police.
- If you are in doubt, you can seek experienced legal advice.
Nobody likes to come under the radar of the police while on the roads, be it a new driver or a seasoned one. However, being stopped by the traffic police is sometimes unavoidable. The thumb rule is to be polite with the officer and avoid getting nervous. Once the police has left, you can start driving, provided that you are calm and composed.
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