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Indiscipline, the main villain on roads

Wednesday, 4 June 2014 - 6:35am IST | Agency: DNA

Be it rash and negligent driving or refusal to follow road rules, the reasons for the multiplying number of accidents are aplenty. If official data is anything to go by, the maximum number of road accidents, be it on city roads or highway, is caused by over-speeding and failure to follow road rules such as lane discipline, observing the signal, etc.

"In our country, people tolerate over-speeding, which should not be the case. Many a time, passengers hesitate to tell the driver not to speed. They do not know they can approach cops if the driver tends to over-speed or jump signals," said a senior officer in traffic department.

That apart, motorists barely look for road signs and signals. Overtaking and cutting through lanes are common practices.

"Despite installing sign boards in junctions and accident-prone areas, there is no discipline. Road signs are blatantly ignored. On city roads, jumping red lights is so common that a thousand cases are registered on an average daily. On crowded roads especially, people are too impatient and tend to jump signals and cut lanes," said the officer.

One of the other major cause of accidents is drunken driving. "However skilled a driver is, drunken driving can turn fatal, simply because a driver loses his sense of judgement and direction under the influence of alcohol," said the officer. Lack of driving skills, fatigue and even failure to use protective gears like seat belts/helmets are other common causes of death on roads.

According to officials, such accidents can only be averted if motorists have a sense of responsibility. "It's important to follow signals and road signs. It's also important to wear helmets/seat belts. Skill of a driver is not about how s/he can drive smoothly by being indisciplined, but about driving cautiously following each and every rule, simply because roads do not belong to any single motorist," said the officer.

Voices
It's sad that 12.5% of road fatalities in the world occur in India. People do not follow the basic traffic etiquette and violate norms. Most mishaps occur due to overtaking, lane cutting, signal jumping, etc. Laws have be amended and stricter fines imposed. – Dr PS Pasricha, former director general, Maharashtra Police.

Almost everyone violates traffic rules. Basic rules like indicating before cutting lane are ignored. There are signs on state highways telling people not to stop their vehicles, but they are blatantly ignored. People keep talking while driving and stop their vehicles on flyovers. Such acts can prove fatal. – Marmik Mehta, a Chembur businessman.

90% of mishaps occur due to human error, and only 10% due to some problem with vehicles. Unless licensing rules are made stringent and heavy fines imposed like in western countries, it'll be difficult to check accidents. – Dr BK Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

Dos
Adhere to speed limit.
Observe lane discipline.
Four wheeler- Use seat-belt.
Two wheleer – Use helmet.
Be vigilant at both intersection and non-intersection locations, especially in urban areas.
Check head/tail lamps, and use parking lights at nights.

Don'ts
Don't drink and drive.
Do not drive/overtake dangerously.
Do not overcrowd or overload your vehicle.

2012 NCRB) report
461 people die in road accidents everyday in the country (1.60 lakh deaths per year).
1,301 more injured everyday.
19 deaths every hour or more than a death every 3 minutes.
Over 1.2 million people died on roads in the last 10 years.
Over 1.4 million lives are lost annually globally; 11% of it in India.
Increasing trend in accident deaths from 2003-2012 with an increase of 51.8% in 2012 as compared to 2002.
1.2 million perished on Indian roads in the past decade.
73 deaths every day due to truck accidents.
89 deaths every day due to two-wheeler accidents.
Number of vehicles in India has increased by 58.3% and quantum of 'road accidents' has increased by 5.8% in the same period.

Road accident deaths in India in the last 5 years
2008:
1,18,239
2009: 1,26,896
2010: 1,33,938
2011: 1,36,834
2012: 1,39,091


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