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A good book on a rainy day is happiness for me - Ruskin Bond

Sunday, April 24, 2011


In every discussion, we see people debating the causes of radicalism, but never have we seen people analyzing the causes of road accidents, which kill people twenty times more than the extremist violence in India.

I felt dismayed when I read a news article saying that more than one lakh people die every year in road accidents alone in India, which is 20 times more than deaths from extremist violence. Another startling statistic is that the country is loosing Rs 10,000 crores in compensation and insurance claims, one estimate says.

If we analyze the causes, it is seen that the prime cause of accidents is over-speed driving. In some cases, non-adherence to traffic rules is also a prime  reason for accidents.   In spite of spurt in accident rate, people's awareness levels are not encouraging. Still we see majority of people indulge in mindless acts like jabbering away on their cell phones while riding their vehicles feeling that they are managing time efficiently. This is seriously compromising the safety of roads and putting life behind wheels in great danger.

The death of famous cricketer Azharudin's son in a road accident is a grim reminder of how over-speed driving can take away precious life.

Alcoholism also has its slice in the cause of accidents. We all know how the film actor Salman Khan overran his jeep over some people sleeping outside a bakery on the pavement of Hill Road junction in Bandra, Mumbai in 2002 killing one and causing serious injuries to three people.  The incident involving celebrity reflects the disturbing reality of  Indian roads.

Strict surveillance and adherence to traffic rules in cities and towns, especially on highways is the need of the hour. Fast-track courts must be set up to dispose off the traffic related crimes so that the compensation to be given to the victims is not delayed.

Technology should also be used to help traffic management in cities and towns. In this regard, Bengalore's City Traffic Police is a step ahead in their efforts to achieve the stated objective. They have put into place a state of art technology in traffic management system by installing enforcement, surveillance cameras, giving live feeds on traffic and opened a traffic helpline to help the needy.

Intelligent signal system, which is already there in cities of  developed nations must be introduced at the earliest for better traffic management. Automation of traffic management would drastically reduce the manpower-intensive traffic policing. Apart from governmental efforts in the form of intelligent traffic system, people's attitude to safe driving would  prevent road accidents and thereby save precious lives.

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