Are Delhi Roads Safe?

by August 22, 2019 0 comments

A report reveals how one person dies in an accident every five hours because of rampant behavior

As a signatory to the Brasilia declaration on road safety, India intends to reduce  accidents and traffic fatalities by 50 per cent in the next three years. So when a most damning report on the state of Delhi roads was  released by the traffic police, revealing that one person died in a road accident every five hours on an average in 2018, it raised a million eyebrows. Not only that, fatalities rose to a five-year high and remained the highest for any city in the country, the report added. Breaking down the bone-chilling statistics, the report concluded that nearly half of these crashes, 46 per cent to be precise, were hit and run cases where the vehicle could not be identified. Of the 1,690 deaths, one-third were caused by speeding and 7-10 per cent due to dangerous driving, usually reckless lane-changing and stunts. In other words, driving behaviour and the Delhiite’s gross indiscipline were diagnosed as reasons for the nightmarish state of affairs and something which no existing policy or penalty has clearly been able to rein in. The report also highlighted the role played by defective road designs, pathetic street lighting (33 per cent) and callously unguarded civic works (40 per cent) in causing accidents. Shockingly, 20 per cent of road deaths were attributed to bumpy roads and potholes, a severe indictment of the city’s planners and the Public Works Department.

While the Delhi government and civic bodies need to hang their heads in shame, the fact remains that the situation in the rest of the country is not much different. As per data given by the government in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha recently, almost 1.5 lakh people lost their lives in road accidents in 2017. This means every hour 17 people died on Indian roads due to an accident. The number of fatalities is one third the number of accidents, which amounts to 53 road accidents every hour. Uttar Pradesh is the worst affected state with 20,124 people losing their lives, followed by Tamil Nadu with 16,157 fatalities. Such alarming figures prompted the Union Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways to announce that 63 clauses of the Motor Vehicle Act, which include stiffer penalties for traffic violations, drunken driving and over speeding, will be implemented from September 1 after due vetting by the Law ministry. Pointing out that road engineering was primarily responsible for road accidents in the country, the ministry said that a Rs 14,000 crore project had been prepared by the government to identify accident black spots and plug gaps in highways to reduce casualties. Assuming the Delhi Government and the Union government collectively provide safe, better designed and world-class roads in the national Capital, would the errant driver mend his ways or roadroll every civil corrective?

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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