GURUGRAM/NOIDA: Although cars with high-beam lights are a common sight in Gurugram, the city traffic police hasn’t implemented a system to check the intensity of such lights. The xenon and halogen headlights, especially on SUVs and other luxury cars, might make the vehicles look more attractive, but they often distract other drivers and are known to cause accidents.
“Currently, we don’t have any provision like light meters to check the intensity of lights in cars. If any car has modified the lights, we will penalise the owners according to rules pertaining to modification under the Motor Vehicles Act,” said Satyapal Singh, ACP (highways), Gurugram.
Police officers said it is hard for traffic cops to stop vehicles on the expressway at night, and many drivers are not aware of the proper use of high-beam headlights. Ashok Kumar , ACP, Gurugram(west), said, “We issue challans to commuters who use high-beam lights. But the situation is different for a vehicle on a highway.”
Arnab Bhattacharya, a resident of Sector 56, Gurugram, said: “Cars have a speed limit of 80kmph and it becomes next to impossible for a policeman to stop a vehicle moving at this speed on a highway. Moreover, stopping a vehicle on the expressway will trigger pile-ups. Only high beams can spot speed breakers in dark stretches. I believe that commuters are not educated enough about where they should use the beam. For traffic policemen, high-beam headlight is not the number one priority when it comes to issuing tickets.”
Gurugram has 12 interceptors but not a single light beam detector. Experts feel that it’s the need of the hour to get light detectors, so that errant drivers can be caught.
“Commuters don’t know. But they should be educated. Low-beam lights are meant for urban areas and high beams are for highways. Traffic cops should use lux meter (to check high beam lights), so that they can issue challans to offenders. These meters are not costly, and should be purchased by police if they are not available. Traffic police should penalise people for dangerous driving if they use high-beam lights,” said Sewa Ram, a professor at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. Although various campaigns have been undertaken by NGOs and the traffic police, high-beam lights continue to be used by a lot of people.
In Gurugram, traffic cops have been mostly directed to catch violators of traffic signal, wrong-side drivers and diesel autos. “In February, the traffic police came out with violation data of 2019. According to it, 405 challans were issued to drunken drivers, 808 were issued for signal jumping, 5,697 were for wrong- side driving, and 13,398 for parking in wrong places. Also, 51,781 autos were challaned,” said a senior police officer.
In Noida, it’s a similar story. According to traffic police, xenon and halogen lights, especially those used in luxury segment SUVs like Audi, BMW and Mercedes, tend to distract drivers who encounter them suddenly. “It takes at least two-three seconds for a normal eye to get adjusted to the vision whenever these lights flash suddenly. It disturbs the eyesight for that duration and by the time it gets back to normal, it is enough for an accident to happen,” a traffic police officer told TOI.
SP (traffic) Anil Jha told TOI that while the problem is acute on roads on which both incoming and outgoing traffic merge, roads that have a divider or a central verge, and where traffic on both sides do not merge, accidents are less likely to occur.
While the main roads in Noida, including the Yamuna Expressway, Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and the master plan roads have dividers, there are many roads where traffic from both sides merges. These include roads in Sector 11 and the industrial sectors.
“These lights definitely have a blinding effect on people’s eyes, and at times, a speeding vehicle can result in an accident,” Jha said.
Traffic cops say they are working on an idea to detect vehicles that make changes in the light fittings.