OUR ROAD SAFETY AT CROSSROADS
The year 2009 witnessed over 125,660 road fatalities. With the death toll keeps mounting year after year, neither the central government, nor the state enhances the system!
The 23 rd Road Safety Week was observed from January first to 7th, 2012. It is alarming that the number of road accident victims in India tops the list! The toll mounts worse than earthquake and other natural calamities!
The first week of New Year 2012 was observed as the, “Road Safety Week.” But all these became a mockery as no effort is put to minimize the number of road related accidents, though manual blunders like over speeding, drunken driving, disregarding traffic rules and signs, getting the- license easily without being qualified for it, impatience among drivers, fatigue while driving and taking nap at the wheels – all these man-made errors also add up. It is the responsibility of the two governments to help avert the accidents due to bad road condition, poor illuminations, bribing the concerned when intercepted for traffic violations, getting the license by ‘satisfying’ the issuing authorities, etc.
It may be recalled that the Sundar Committee Report quoted the necessity for formation of the “National Road Safety & Traffic Management,” about five years ago, is yet to be looked into by the concerned ministry. As if adding fuel to the already burning issue, the uproar in the Parliament, with the VIPs accusing one another of bribery and the debate about passing of the Lokpall Bill which took the House by storm, are some of the setbacks that pushed the road safety agenda to the back seat.
The state government is responsible for motor vehicle rules, while it is the duty of the central government to ensure the highway safety through the “Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.” But both the government had miserably failed in their joint venture.
Laying of good roads and highways are the need of the hour. Highway police patrol is to be beefed up and made easily accessible to any passing motorist to alert them on seeing the violation of rules by any.
Technically also, so the survey says that the Indian roads are deprived of many essential aspects, such as room for the cyclists and pedestrians who come under the fool-proof planning of the engineers and other related personnel.
Moreover, enhancing punishment for the erring drivers is another aspect that needs be addressed. This, again, recommended by the committee, just awaits nod of approval for the past five years! The committee further said that unless ‘Zero tolerance’ level is adopted in punishing traffic violators, Indian Roads will continue to remain as death traps!
What is to be noted is that, the central government has proposals to bring down the death toll of the road accident victims by half in 2020! A pipe dream, indeed!
Do they really mean it, or spoke just for the heck of it for something to say?
A study reveals that the Tamil Nadu state owned MTC buses in Chennai city involved in 2,800 accidents in the year 2011, of which 10 per cent of them were fatal! This was due to rash driving and negligence of the drivers!