Monday, December 15, 2014

Road Safety - A Collective Responsibility



When we read such headlines in the paper, we feel sorry for those who lost a loved one and criticize our system. Little do we realize that to change any system, all of us have to make a contribution. The responsibility is collective and we all have to do our bit to make roads safer to drive and for pedestrians. Here are some of the ways I feel can bring positive changes and lessen the number of accidents on Indian roads -

Separate Paths for Rickshaws and Bicycles -

I grew up in Chandigarh and I love the road network there. I feel, every city in India should have a separate lane for man pulled rickshaws and bicycles. This way we can reduce the traffic congestion on main roads. As the speed of manually operated vehicles is far less than the motorized vehicles, it creates chaos on the roads. By making a separate lane for such vehicles, there will be smooth flow of traffic and will add to the road safety. This has regulated traffic in Chandigarh and if other cities follow the suit, we can definitely have more safety on roads in other parts of India. 

Source

Source

Improve and Build More Footpaths -

Footpath system should be improved and more footpaths should be added. Though we already have footpaths but they are not maintained. Also, road-side vendors and street hawkers should not be allowed on busy interactions during peak hours. I understand that they have to earn their bread and butter, but if they take a break during peak hours, there will be less chaos during that time. Since not all footpaths are maintained or are in a bad state, pedestrians have no option but to walk on the main road. This causes a lot of confusion for both the driver and the pedestrians. A separate and marked area for pedestrians can ease off the congestion on the main city roads and lessen the number of accidents.

Source

Source

Zebra crossing and Push Button at Major Intersections -

Zebra crossing should be added to all major points of the city. I have hardly seen zebra crossings in India. Most people cross the roads when the signal turns red. This causes a lot of accidents. There should be more zebra crossings in each city on major intersections and most importantly, there should be a push button which the pedestrians can press when they want to cross the road. This way there won't be any mishap which occurs when pedestrians try to cross the roads through busy traffic. I've witnessed a fatal accident when a lady was trying to cross the road amidst traffic in Delhi. Had there been a proper zebra crossing and a push button to help her get passage, it could have saved her life and hopefully many other lives which are lost while attempting to cross roads through busy city roads.

Source

Source

Special Laws and Regulations for Construction Zones -

Special emphasis and rules should be made for construction zones. When Delhi-Chandigarh highway was under construction, I lived very close to one of the construction zones and I witnessed at least 4-5 accidents every week and most were fatal. There must be special laws and regulations for driving in construction zone. When Delhi Metro was under construction, there used to be a lot of accidents in the city. Better safety measures, such as better and more warning signs, diverting traffic to other routes and construction during night can minimize the risk to the motorist and pedestrians. 


Source
Source 

Cautionary Signs and Boards -

This may sound a bit normal but it has a lot of effect on the people. I have witnessed drivers becoming more cautious after reading the warning signs. These days signs have become interesting and bring better influence on the driver, not to forget the amusement to the journey. Such sings not only bring more awareness among the drivers but also alert them to reduce their speed and take necessary precautions for that particular terrain. Cautionary posters and signs are very useful in hilly terrains and it reduces the roads accidents, specially the ones suggesting the road type, intersections and steep curves. Warning signs do help to reduce the number of accidents and the civil authorities must place them at accident prone areas and also in crowded areas.

Source

Source 

Mandatory Training for Experienced Drivers -

We all know how easy it is to get driving license in India. I have heard many stories where people boast about getting license without even appearing for the test. Not only we need strict regulations while issuing new licenses but we also need to make 'Road Safety Training' a regular feature even for experienced drivers. Let's say, in a gap of 3-5 years, they should attend 2 hours training lesson to update their knowledge and learn more about road safety. This way we will have better drivers on the roads and a significant reduction in the number of accidents. It would be better if in addition to the theoretical training, they also have a stimulation training to improve their driving skills.

Source

Source 

Automatic Fine and Challan System -

We all know how easily we can avoid challan in India. We bribe the traffic cop and pay him a lesser amount. Many people don't shy away from breaking rules on roads as they know they can get away with it by paying as low as 50 rupees to a traffic cop. We need an automated fine system where the traffic cameras will capture your offense and people sitting at the back-end can spot them and send the fine to the address where the vehicle is registered. I heard this system being effective in Chandigarh. When people will know that they can not escape their faults on roads, they will be more responsible and there will be fewer to very less accidents on roads. Now, this system is present in some metros in India but we need to implement it on a larger scale.

Source

Source

Strict Rules for School Zones -

Sadly, there have been many accidents in school areas where many children have lost their lives. Most of our schools are inside the city where there is huge traffic. My school was on the main road connecting Ambala with the main market area. I have seen the chaos and sadly, many accidents due to the jam and rush of peak hour. We have incorporated some rules regarding the school buses and vehicles carrying school students. I think, it would be better to have better rules when the school is open. It will help in regulating the traffic and making roads safer for our children.

Source

Source

Campaigns by Automobile Companies -

When those we belong to the particular industry raise an issue, it is all the more effective. It would be great if automobiles companies can conduct programs to educate people on road safety. Even when someone is buying a car, they should give them a small introductory program on road safety. One such initiative - Nissan Safety Driving Forum is introduced by Nissan India where they are educating people on road safety measures. The program which was initially launched in three cities - New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, has expanded to 8 more cities in 2014, including Chandigarh. After their awareness program, they have witnessed a whopping 126% surge in the number of sensitization of wearing seat belts. What's interesting is that - they conduct stimulated experiences to show how safety measures help during a car crash. I personally feel that such an experience would have greater effect on the minds of drivers. NSDF is a part of Blue Citizenship Corporate Social Responsibility, Nissan's vision and commitment to enrich people's lives while spreading awareness about road safety.

Safety Driving Stimulator

Rollover Stimulator

Implementing these changes will make our roads safer to drive and lessen the number of accidents on it. We have to educate people, bring awareness, bring strict regulations and do our bit to the cause of making roads safer. Bringing safety on roads is not a one man or one agency task, it is our collective responsibility. 

*This post is written to support Nissan Safety Driving Forum.


12 comments:

  1. As a pedestrian normally, this post echoes in me - footpaths, where are they? The bigger problem here seems to be that no-one adheres to traffic rules. Overtaking from the left, driving two-wheelers on the footpaths you name it, it is a problem here. A mandatory prison sentence seems to be the only way you can get people to be serious about traffic rules, it appears. When it is ONLY money, people take these laws as not so necessary to follow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we do need strict regulations to overcome this problem.

      Delete
  2. Can you beat this.. a bus was trying to overtake me from the left which was a footpath (or what was left of it)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What!!! Seriously, people need to learn a lot about road safety and manners.

      Delete
  3. Good post. I Would be glad if you read my entry and drop a comment on the same. It'shttps://gangsofedathua.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/the-long-and-winding-road-to-redemption/ all the best

    ReplyDelete
  4. but are we truly sensitive to others?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some are, at least in US. Here people do care about others and specially pedestrians.

      Delete
  5. Agree with all your points. Much need, Saru.
    May we have safe roads and responsible drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Saru, this is a perfect post describing what reeally needs to be done!

    ReplyDelete