Highways to the danger zone
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What, then, explains why special traffic enforcement teams performed so much better? Two factors may have been decisive. First, the special teams faced stronger incentives; because they were monitored more closely, their performance could lead more directly to positive recognition from senior officers. Second, the special teams may have been more focused on their work, and less prone to the distractions of other police duties.
A permanent highway patrol police could incorporate both advantages and also technology and expertise unavailable in the above mentioned experiment. Indeed, such a system has already been adopted by many countries, including France, Germany and Japan, and even for traffic police in major Indian cities. A system like the Central Motorway Police Groups in Britain, combining the police forces of many districts and states along the same national highway for dedicated policing services, might be adapted to Indian conditions. Enforcement is a key ingredient for a safe road environment, and specialised highway patrol police are crucial to providing effective enforcement and keeping India's national highway system safe and protected.
Nina Singh and is an IPS officer in Rajasthan. Daniel Keniston is an assistant professor at Yale University, US. Views are personal