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Pune Speak Up: How to deal with this giant problem of Traffic discipline

Friday, 25 April 2014 - 9:38am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
The Supreme Court has said that Indian roads have become giant road killers and appointed a three-member committee to monitor steps taken by the Centre and state governments to ensure road safety and curb growing number of accidents. What are the multi-dimensional issues pertaining to road safety, licencing laws, fitness of vehicles and use of road safety devices. dna finds out...

Traffic discipline is totally missing on Indian roads
It is good that the Supreme Court has taken note of the rising accidents on Indian roads and taking steps to monitor Centre and state governments on what they are doing to maintain road safety and curb road accidents. In India, the major reason for road accidents is violation of traffic rules and regulations. The discipline on roads and awareness of road safety among people is completely missing. Though traffic management is acceptable in the metro cities, in the tier-2 cities it is complete chaos. Even on our expressway, accidents have increased because lane discipline is not followed and everyone seems to be in a a hurry, especially the truck drivers. Though we have traffic rules and road safety regulations, we do not have a machinery to strictly enforce these rules. Just having CCTVs on roads to capture clips of road defaulters is not enough, there has to be strict action against these defaulters. Our licencing process has become very mechanical, I doubt if they are putting responsible drivers on the roads. Our policing department is suffering from manpower crunch, so they fall short of performance. There are various issues regarding road safety on Indian roads, that the committee should probe into. 
--Anant Sardeshmukh, Director General, MCCIA 

There is nobody to monitor drunken and rash driving 
Good that the SC is doing something for road safety issue on Indian roads, but it will work only if the state machineries show interest. As per my observation, the fitness of vehicles is a major issue. It will be a big question -- how many vehicles can really ply legally on the roads if the RTO rules on fitness of vehicle are strictly implemented. The government departments which are responsible to build road safety infrastructure like speed breakers, zebra crossing, lane markings, traffic signals, footpaths, road dividers etc. are not at all serious in their work. The projects are started but left halfway and the work is not up to the mark. The road conditions in India are worse with potholes and uneven state. Even the e-way roads though concretized do not give a smooth ride because they are uneven. There is nobody to monitor drunken and rash driving on our expressways. The basic infrastructure required for roads has to be right, the other factors follow afterward and the government is responsible to provide these infrastructure. Policing is part of implementation of traffic rules, which will follow if proper infrastructure is available.
--Rajesh Shende, president, Janahit 

There should be zero tolerance to traffic rule violation
In all respect there has to be strict implementation of traffic rules and discipline. You see general lethargy in our licencing and vehicle fitness process. With regards to traffic rules there has to be strong message of zero tolerance to traffic rules violation, irrespective of who the person is, whether they are VIPs or general public. Unless implementation is not there we will not see any improvement, even if such orders are given by the apex court. Even though such committees are formed to look into road issues in India, the reality is that when implementation of the recommendations comes at state level, one sees hundred per cent dilution. All the roads, whether it is highway or internal, should be for the convenience of the public to reach their destination safely and on time. For example, in Maharashtra, road tolls were introduced to better the road conditions but now the process has become a money-making machinery. The appointment of committees is a right step, provided their recommendations are implemented in the right direction, otherwise it loses its objective.
--Jugal Rathi, president, PMP Pravasi Manch 

A subject on traffic safety in school curriculum is must
There are various aspects to issues pertaining to road safety and increasing accidents on Indian roads. A very important step towards improving road safety is putting responsible drivers on the roads. It has become necessary to introduce a subject on traffic safety in the school curriculum, so that children are taught on how to be responsible and safe drivers in future. There are so many parents who allow their underage kids to drive two-wheelers putting their and other's lives in danger. We also need to educate these parents. Today, it has become very easy for anyone to get a driving licence. You just have to pay Rs500 to an agent and answer six questions pertaining to traffic rules to get a licence within 3 days. In my research, I have found that there are so many drivers who are shortsighted, including car and truck drivers. The drivers on expressway assume that once they are on the stretch there is nobody to stop them for any violation of traffic rules, so they indulge in overspeeding and lane cutting. Nobody is following the 80 km limit on the expressway and there is nobody to monitor this. As per rules, the extreme left lane is for heavy vehicles, middle lane for light vehicles and extreme right lane for overtaking. However, none of the drivers are aware of this rule. Basically, there is a complete lack of awareness among drivers of rules and disciplines driving on the e-way. The committee should stress on the issues like overspeeding, lack of training to drivers and fitness of vehicles.
--Tanmay Pendse, Trustee, Fulora Foundation 

Nowadays, it has become too easy to obtain a driving licence
The biggest issue I see is with the RTO's process of issuing driving licences. It has become too easy to obtain a licence. If the rules of issuing driving licence were strictly followed, half of the drivers on the roads would have never got licences. The usual blame for the growing accidents is that people are not following traffic rules, but what about the large number of vehicles plying on the roads. Why private vehicles in Pune is increasing despite the city not having a proper public transport system. Besides people dying in road accidents, we also have to consider that people are also dying from vehicle pollution. I really don't know how the apex court appointed committee will give any recommendations for a city like Pune. I would suggest to improve the city's public transport system to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. The whole world is doing the same, why aren't we. 
--Neeraj Jain, convenor, Lokayat 

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