Imagine you are driving in one of the many crowded streets in Pune when you get a text message. Instead of bringing your car to a standstill before checking and answering that message, you decide to do it while still driving. Chances are you might find yourself face to face with Yamraj.
We aren’t being metaphorical here.
Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia
The Pune traffic police have started a new drive wherein volunteers in Yamraj (the God of Death in Hindu mythology) costumes will directly confront anyone they see texting or talking on their phones while driving.
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Assistant police inspector MP Sartape has been quoted by India Times talking about this programme, noting, “The common psychology is such that human beings are far more likely to do something if a reward is imminent. Similarly, they are as likely to refrain from an act if they are truly afraid of repercussions. Charging hefty fines won’t create much of an impact on motorists. But, the face of Yamraj will haunt them the next time they answer a call while on the road.”
The concept is simple. If caught on the phone while driving, one of the volunteers will flag down the car in question and then ask the driver if they wish to join them (Yamraj). Cops hope that the gimmick will be strong enough to get people to give up the habit entirely.
According to a report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 1,324 accidents occur in India on an average day, resulting in an estimated 349 deaths. Perhaps a confrontation with a costumed God of Death is just the wake-up call that millions need.