Preventable tragedies

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The recent ghastly accident at Biodiversity flyover in the city comes as a grim reminder of how overspeeding has become a major cause of road fatalities. A Volkswagen car fell off the flyover in the Cyberabad area and crashed on to an auto stand where people were waiting under a tree, killing a woman and injuring several others. The vehicle was speeding at 104 km/hour as against the permitted speed limit of 40 km/hour. Such tragedies are entirely preventable if the road users scrupulously follow traffic rules and safety protocols. Modern road infrastructure alone is not enough to ensure public safety. It must be accompanied by total compliance to the traffic norms by the vehicle users. It is illogical to blame the design of the flyover for the mishap when it is clear that overspeeding and rash driving had led to the tragedy. It was again rash driving that caused a similar accident on the flyover two weeks ago, claiming two lives. There has been alarming rise in the number of incidents of heavy vehicles like trucks and RTC buses mowing down two-wheeler riders and pedestrians in the city. In the two fatal accidents that occurred on Wednesday, the victims were riding two-wheelers and were mowed down by trucks. And, in both cases, negligent driving was the cause. Apart from a sustained public awareness drive, there is a need for stringent penalties and deterrent punishment for traffic violators. The campaign must focus on road discipline, signage and proper use of footpaths.

An analysis of road accidents data compiled by Hyderabad traffic police shows that two-wheelers have turned out to be the most unsafe mode of transport. On an average, three persons riding bikes lose their lives in accidents every day. The traffic police must step up awareness drive and periodically conduct camps to educate commuters on traffic rules. While steeper fines will help send a strong message to the road users, the improvement in road infrastructure, adoption of modern technologies for effective traffic management and aggressive public awareness campaigns will go a long way in making the roads safer. The instances of vehicle users talking over mobile phone while driving have been on the rise in the city. Over 25,000 cases of driving while on mobile phone have been booked this year but the violators have been let off with minimum fine. Stringent punishment alone can help check such a trend. A dangerous mix of vehicular traffic, untrained drivers and utter disregard for traffic rules make driving on Indian roads a nightmarish experience. Last year, over 54,000 people died in road accidents on national highways alone. A vast majority of fatalities are caused due to overspeeding and violation of traffic rules.


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