As road accidents keep recurring, traffic experts blame it on a lack of initiative from the government to take corrective from the government to take corrective measures. Besides various factors like rash and drunken driving, the condition of the roads is a major contributing factor to the accidents.
As per a study, there were about 1800 unscientific roads and 220 blind spots across one state. The study, along with the recommendations to rectify the flaws, was submitted to the government, but no effective steps were taken on it. it is also alleged that a strong lobby was at work against road safety. Road accidents are indeed benefiting many, especially hospitals and lawyers. The inaction on the part of the government on road safety measures is suspected to be the result of the strong pressure being exerted by this lobby.
Emergency health care, availability of ambulance with trained staff on highways is still a dream. All the ambulances were nothing but regular vehicles with not even oxygen cylinders on board. Road victims have to travel bleeding, unconscious and mourning on stretchers for hours alone without even one paramedical person. The only person who travels with a road victim is the driver.
We have seen that after every accident, authorities make tall claims that they will take emergency measures forthwith to ensure road safety, but their oft-repeated assurances prove nothing more than a hoax. Roads & Buildings Department, Beacon and National Highway Authority of India is responsible for the loss of lives, as accidents have been reported mostly in the areas where the condition of roads is pathetic. Besides, there is no protection (caution signals) on the turns and blind curves in other areas.
Though there are specific guidelines on the setting up of hoardings, this was being blatantly violated and the government was not taking any action against it. Hoardings generate about Rs. 200 crore annually. A mechanism to analyze the cause of all road accidents that claimed two or more lives was recently introduced. Corrective measures are also being initiated with the support of the departments concerned.
The highways department has been better able to improve road conditions where they are most needed, such as creating dividers in areas with a high frequency of head-on collisions, upgrading unsafe road junctions, providing better street lighting, installing road signs, trimming trees, and so on. The transport department has been able to target road safety awareness programmes, for example, providing compulsory refresher classes for drivers of heavy vehicles.
There is an urgent need to recognise the worsening road safety situation that has resulted in rising road fatalities. Taking into consideration that India has one of the highest road accidents in the world, it is high time that road safety measures get due priority by the State Governments in their future plans.
The National Register and National Transport Portal were launched in July, 2011. The objective of 100% connectivity and computerization of data base of all RTOs in all States / Union Territories has been achieved. Inter-state check posts in the country during the XII Five Year Plan to move towards border-less and paperless movement of goods across State borders, reducing transaction costs and logistic costs to the economy, has also been planned to set up.
Many professional drivers are forced to work longer hours than desirable from a safety standpoint. This can result in their being asleep at the wheel, with horrific consequences for passengers and for themselves. On the other hand, some drivers causes accidents through sheer recklessness. The response to this has to be the unsparing enforcement of rules. In the case of errant drivers, the Supreme Court has endorsed a deterrent approach in Dalbir Singh vs. State of Haryana. Enforcement, good engineering and education are the needs of the hour.