Saturday, December 6, 2014

Data and facts on Road safety - Be careful in traffic

To raise the level of safety on the roads in India it would take a cultural change, built through a responsive language, especially since the recipients of the communication are mostly the young, with greater emphasis on road safety campaigns, because it spreads awareness of the risks and so that safety becomes a lifestyle. Rather than creating new rules there should be better enforcement of existing rules and standards.

Some of the measures that can be adopted din India are:

Preventive passive safety measures like, reduction of intra-urban speed limits, mandatory helmets for bikers and seat belts in cars, periodical driving tests, installation of apparatus for recording data and breathalyzers for prohibition of driving under the influence of alcohol, restrictions on the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices, such as television, DVD players, navigation system while driving, to making a general obligation to move with the headlights on during daylight hours, and minimum age set to twenty one years in order to drive motorcycles.

There should be improvement in the application of existing rules like ensuring strict standards during driving tests and the quality of the examinations before giving licenses, introduction of the attribution of probative value to the result of the analysis of the breath, as well as ensuring strict speed limits by the use of automated systems such as CCTV cameras.

There should be harsher criminal penalties by releasing regular traffic rule breaker names publicly and increasing fines from the driver of the vehicle for traffic rule breaches, confiscation of the vehicle, revocation of driving license for a longer period and most importantly after any driver has breached any traffic rule, there should be a mandatory requirement of driving fitness test once again as was done before issuing license.

Infrastructural measures have to be improved especially in residential areas, where pedestrians and cyclists, may be extremely vulnerable, like remediation of dangerous sections and accident prone areas by creating speed breakers, pedestrian zones, lanes and or separate ways as motorcycle lanes, underpasses and flyovers, barriers for pedestrians that prevent the pedestrian crossing in complex junctions where they cross over two-ways, with variable angles, separating the opposing flows of traffic with median dividers or divider collision, and in this way reduce the potential collisions between vehicles coming from opposite directions, as also replacing intersections with distributors, interchanges or roundabouts.

Particularly important for risk reduction is also a correct night street lighting, which is extremely poor in most cities and towns of India, as also prohibiting access to very slow vehicles in main roads, to reduce the speed differences that proceeds in the same direction, limiting the access of pedestrians in all major thoroughfares and more importantly in India removing obstacles in the sides of the roads like vendors and hawkers.

Laws should be made stricter for car and vehicle manufacturers and it should be made mandatory to install airbags, seat belts at both the front and back seats, deformation zones, which absorb collision energy, retro-reflective jackets, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, converters for the lights of the headlights, and spare wheels.

Direct interventions to improve the safety measures on the road is the need of the hour for which both the common man on the street, on the drivers seat in the vehicle as also the administration need to come together to create an accident free India.