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National Road Safety

By: Bilal Ahmad Paray

India is observing 32nd National Road Safety month instead of a week from 18th January to 17th February, 2021 with a main motive and objective of generating general awareness regarding traffic rules with main focus on violators. This year’s theme is, “Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha”

In India, every year more than 1.5 lakh people lose their lives due to road accidents. There is an urgent need that everyone plats his/her role to ensure safety of life on roads. Accidents on Sgr-Jmu National Highway are more frequent. From 2010 to 2020, data compiled by J&K Traffic Police Department reveals that the Sgr-Jmu NHW has seen 8128 road accidents resulting in 1750 deaths and injuries to 12131 persons. Despite these alarming accidents, the road is yet to be made people friendly and continues to remain a threat for commuters.

There is a need for society at large to take cognizance of the issue and make road safety awareness a mass moment. To sensitize all the stakeholders on road safety, every year government is observing road safety programme, wherein various initiatives and activities are taken up in order to generate the mass awareness. The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways intends to provide financial support for organising various road safety activities and unique initiatives like seminars, debates, aalkathon, gifting of helmets, flowers, two wheelers rallies, awards, workshops etc. in order to create mass movement regarding road safety awareness.

In one of a seminar organised by Traffic Police, Srinagar , J&K’s renowned religious scholar, Mufti Nazir Ahmad Qasmi delivered a detailed talk on use of roads and following traffic rules in light of the traditions of the Prophet. The initiative was appreciated by all because involvement of religious leaders in awareness programmes is going to help in the longer run. These leaders have tremendous respect amongst the masses and their opinions are respected by all.

Many people die in accidents only as a consequence of inexperience, speeding intoxication through drink or drugs or just plain recklessness and casual driving. Most traffic accidents are the product of several factors, the probability of accidents can be reduced in a number of different ways. Sometimes natural or weather conditions like earth quake, floods, fog, snow, heavy rainfall, wind storms, hail storms etc cause road accidents. The majority of accidents are caused due to the following reasons:

Condition of Vehicle

A well-designed and well-maintained vehicle, with good brakes, tyres, functional speedometer, adjusted side mirrors and well-adjusted suspension will be more controllable in an emergency and thus be better equipped to avoid collisions. The design of vehicles has also evolved to improve protection after collision, both for vehicle occupants and for those outside of the vehicle. Speeding also increases the risk of collision. Failure of brakes or steering, tyre burst, insufficient headlights, overloading are main cause of collision. This can be preventing by vehicle engineering, which comprises; regular inspection; fitting safety equipment, such as seat belts.

Condition of Roads

This factor includes road design, pot-holes, damaged roads, eroded road merging of rural roads with highways, diversions, illegal speed breakers, blind curves. Crashes are common in areas of high vehicle congestion but fatal crashes occur disproportionately on rural roads at night when traffic is relatively light. The preventive measures include road or smart traffic engineering which comprises; the design of new roads, separating opposing traffic flows, elimination of cross traffic, existing road improvement, resurfacing of slippery areas, installing traffic signals, road markings, and regulatory signs such as “stop” and “give way” signs; and assisting the driver with warning and destination signs to avoid danger and confusion.

Human Interference 

This includes all factors related to drivers and other road users such as pedestrian carelessness, illiteracy, poor eyesight or physical impairment, crossing at wrong places, moving on carriageway, waiting passengers, passengers projecting their body outside vehicle, by talking to drivers, alighting and boarding vehicle from wrong side travelling on footboards, catching a running bus etc. Today literate & responsible passengers force the driver for wrong driving, this all makes the driver habitual and incites other drivers to follow the suit. Some drivers overtake other vehicles rashly resulting in to accidents.

Behaviour of driver

A number of factors contribute to the risk of collision, including driver’s skill, impairment due to alcohol or drugs, over smartness, over-speeding, rash driving, violation of rules, failure to understand signs, fatigue and street racing. Apart from alcohol many drugs, medicines also affect the skills and concentration necessary for driving. A red light jumper not only jeopardizes his life but also the safety of other road users. This act by one driver incites other driver to attempt it and finally causes chaos at crossing.

Casual Driving

Though distraction while driving could be minor but it can cause major accidents. Distractions could be outside or inside the vehicle. The major distraction now-a-days is talking on mobile phone, updating Facebook page, sharing wattsapp messages, chatting while driving. These acts occupy major portion of brain and smaller part handles the driving. This becomes one of the reasons of accidents. One should not attend phone calls while driving. Avoid stereo or radio and LCD’s were driving, otherwise this all attracts the attention of driver and causes road traffic accidents.

A very small number of Traffic cops can’t alone control and manage traffic with omnipresence but other pipeline departments can also play their positive role in reducing of traffic accidents. All the concerned departments need to work in unison to end this menace. Parents should avoid offering of motor bikes, cars, high speedy vehicles etc. to their wards at their very young age. Educated persons and senior citizens should also support this cause. The main approaches to preventing accidents include education and training of children in schools by road-traffic instructors & school teachers and by means of print and electronic media.

– Writer can be reached at [email protected]

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