A taxi driver entered the pages of the Calcutta police history book when he was booked for speeding through the Maidan on Wednesday afternoon. His was the first vehicle to be shot down with a Speed Gun on city streets.
This was just a test case, but the city’s traffic police is armed to take a big tech leap, with sophisticated laser guns trained on speed devils.
Keen to adopt London or New York City models, the traffic force has procured five Speed Guns — each costing around Rs 5 lakh — to zero in on a vehicle and capture its registration number with time, date and speed.
“At St George’s Gate Road, the prescribed speed limit is 50 kmph and so we could slam the brakes on a taxi driver on Wednesday. We have started working on specifying speed limits for key roads and once that is in place, prosecuting offending vehicles would be simple with the Speed Gun,” said Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner (traffic).
The force has identified six vital stretches — Strand Road, Red Road, Hastings, Vidyasagar Setu, EM Bypass and BT Road — for fixing speed limits. The proposal has been sent to the transport department and sources said the system would be in place by July. Till then, officers trained to use the Speed Gun would be booking speeding vehicles for “rash and negligent driving”.
“The gun comes fitted with a small screen where you can see the vehicles you want to track along a particular stretch. As a vehicle crosses the screen, the individual speed starts flashing. To capture the image of an offending vehicle, one just has to pull the trigger and the picture freezes,” said a senior officer, during Wednesday’s trial run.
The gun comes fitted with a hard disk that stores the pictures and a printer that provides a black-and-white image of the vehicle under the scanner. “One can book the vehicle on the spot or alert the traffic sergeant at the next crossroad,” the officer added.