9 Things to Keep in Mind in Case Your Car is Stopped by the Traffic Police

There are laws for everything in the world. Whether you are in a multiplex watching a movie or driving a car, you need to follow the laws related to it. When it comes to motor laws, it is the responsibility of the traffic police to ensure its enforcement. With this intent, traffic police hold check posts at crucial junctions or highways to catch the miscreants. They also conduct random inspection of cars to ensure that all traffic rules are being followed.

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If you have ever travelled by car, you may have been pulled over by a traffic cop at least once. Getting stopped by the traffic police does not necessarily mean you have committed an offence. Sometimes the cops stop a car just for a routine check and to confirm that the driver is following all the motor laws. When you are pulled over by the traffic police, the first thing they will do is to check if you are carrying all the essential car documents.

Documents That Traffic Police May Ask for During Car Inspection

As per the motor laws of India, every car must carry certain documents while being used on public roads. A traffic cop may ask you to produce these documents in case your car has been pulled over. If you are missing even one of the following documents, you may land yourself in trouble and attract a traffic challan. Take a look at the documents that a traffic cop may ask you to show:

  • Registration certificate (RC) of your car
  • Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate of your car
  • Car insurance policy document with at least third party insurance coverage
  • Driving license of the driver

Make sure to keep the original copies of these documents in your car. You can also keep the soft copies of these document in your phone, email or at the government authorized digital locker.

Rights of the Traffic Police When They Stop a Car

The traffic police have the legal rights to do the following:

  • Pull Over Your Car - It is the right of a traffic cop to pull over your car during a routine check or due to suspicion and can ask you to show the essential car documents, such as car insurance policy with third party insurance cover.
  • Document Confiscation - It is the right of the traffic police to confiscate one or more of your car documents in case of an offence. The cop will provide you with a receipt/ acknowledgement in case your documents have been confiscated. For example, a cop can confiscate your car’s RC or driving license if you have damaged a third party’s car.
  • Arrest of the Driver - It is the right of the traffic police to arrest you in case you have committed a serious offence. For instance, the traffic police will arrest you if you are caught driving a car under the influence of alcohol.

Rights of the Car Driver When the Traffic Police Stops the Car

As the owner-driver of the car, you are within the rights to do the following:

  • Ask for Identity Card - If your car is stopped by traffic police, you have the right to ask the cops for their identification proof in case they are not wearing it. You can check their buckle number and note it down for reference. If the cops refuse to show their IDs, you have the right to deny showing them your car documents.
  • Refuse to Hand Over Your Driving License - You must show your driving license to the traffic police if you are asked as per section 130 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. But you have the right to refuse to hand it over to the traffic cop if you do not want to.
  • Take a Receipt for Document Confiscation - In case the traffic police confiscates your driving license, car insurance or other documents, you have the right to ask for a receipt for the same. It is the responsibility of the traffic police to issue a receipt on behalf of the Traffic Police Department on confiscation of documents.
  • Raise Objection on Towing if Someone is in the Car - You have the right to object the towing of your car if someone is sitting inside the vehicle. The police cannot tow a car if someone is inside the vehicle.
  • File a Police Complaint in case of Harassment - In case your interaction with the cop goes downhill and you feel you are being harassed unnecessarily, you have the right to file a police complaint against the incident online or at the nearest police station.
  • Issuance of Challan - You have the right to refuse a challan if the traffic cop is not carrying an e-challan generator or a valid government-issued challan book.
  • Payment of Challan - You have the right to pay the challan on the spot if the traffic cop holds the rank of a sub-inspector or higher.
  • Use of Force - You have the right to step out of your vehicle at your own will. The traffic police cannot force you to come out of your car or snatch your keys from the ignition.
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Details to Be Checked in a Challan if Issued by the Traffic Police

In case the traffic police issues a prosecution slip or challan to you, remember to check the following details on it:

  • Your name and address
  • The offence for which the challan has been issued
  • Name and details of the court where the trial of your case will be held
  • Date on which the trial will be held
  • Name and signature of the traffic cop who had issued the challan
  • Documents that you are required to carry for the trial.

9 Things to Keep in Mind if Your Car is Stopped by the Traffic Police

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind if your car gets pulled over by the traffic police:

  • Stopping a Car Does Not Mean Breakage of Law

    If the traffic police signals you to stop your car, it does not necessarily mean that you have committed an offence or broken the law. The police can stop your car to inform you about a problem with your car as well as for random checks. For instance, in case you are driving a car at night without the headlights on or with a punctured tyre, the cop can signal you to stop.

  • Cooperate With the Police

    You must cooperate with the traffic police and stop your car when a traffic cop signals you to. Do not try to avoid stopping the vehicle and continue driving as it can land you into serious troubles.

  • Pull Over Your Car Safely

    You should pull over your car after checking for any speeding vehicles in other lanes. You should not rush into changing the lanes and stopping your car as it can lead to a major accident.

  • Do Not Panic

    You should panic when your car is signalled to stop by the traffic police. Remember to remain calm and do not rush out of your vehicle to know why your vehicle was stopped. Roll down your window and wait for the cop as it will indicate that you have nothing illegal to hide in your car. You should also turn off your car’s engine as it will suggest to the cops that you are not going to speed away.

  • Stay Polite

    You should always speak politely when interacting with a traffic cop. Politely apologize for any mistakes that you have made. If you are polite, the cop may leave you with a warning and may not issue a challan, provided you have committed a minor offence.

  • Do Not Argue With the Cop

    You should avoid getting into an argument with the traffic cop and accept if you have broken the law. In case you haven’t broken any law, you should remain calm and politely explain your point of view to the cop. Try to understand the perspective of the cop and accordingly try to reason out with him if you are not at fault.

  • Do Not Offer Bribe to the Cop

    You should not try to bribe the traffic cop who has stopped your car as you may get arrested for doing so. Pay the fine amount if you have broken the law and do not contribute to corruption.

  • Detention of Your Car

    The traffic police can detain your car if you are found violating the law of the area. For instance, your vehicle can be detained for not carrying your driving license, car insurance policy or for parking in a ‘No Parking’ area.

  • Detention of the Driver

    If the traffic police detain you for breaking the motor laws, you have to be presented in front of a magistrate for your trial in less than 24 hours.

Summing It Up

Getting pulled over by the traffic police is very common. As long as you have not committed an offence, there is no reason to worry. Most of the times the police stop a car to check if a car owner if following motor laws, such as compulsion of third party insurance cover for all motor vehicles. Just maintain your calm and cooperate with the police by showing your car’s documents, such as driving license, car insurance policy, etc. Make sure to remember your rights as well as the rights of the police for a better experience. Moreover, you should keep the above-mentioned things in mind to avoid escalating the situation.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 25 June 2021
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