Traffic police have special drives for everything, but no specific plan to check the frightening figures of road accidents in Hyderabad and its surroundings

You just cannot miss the irony. Traffic police in the State capital have special drives for everything, but no specific plan to check the ever increasing and frightening figures of road accidents!

More than 1,500 lives were snuffed out in road accidents while thousands were wounded grievously in the year 2012 that was bidden adieu recently. And the spree of deaths on roads continues in the current year too. On the single day of January 1 alone, 15 persons were killed in road accidents in and around Hyderabad.

Going by the previous years’ data and the unabated dance of death on the capital’s roads in the present year, it appears imminent that more lives would be lost in the coming days in such accidents and people have to remain mute spectators. Cannot this massive loss of lives be avoided is a question officials find uncomfortable to answer.

From scribbling challans manually for not possessing original documents by intercepting vehicles at junctions, the traffic police technologically advanced to sending e-challans after capturing pictures of violators by installing cameras at junctions. As the non-paid e-challans piled up, they purchased Programmable Digital Assistants (PDAs) to catch vehicle owners

A few months ago, the government came out with an order hiking fine amounts for traffic rule violations like jumping signals at junctions, crossing stop-line, speaking over mobile phones while driving and over-speeding. It was stated in the order that the police too recommended enhancement of fine amounts to rein in motorists not complying with the rules for effective traffic management.

The enthusiasm shown by the government machinery in hiking the fine amounts and adopting technology to catch rule violators is not evinced in evolving an effective mechanism to bring down accident rate, feel many.

“When the traffic police go around the city tom-tomming the massive collections they had made through imposition of fines and other achievements, why cannot they succeed in saving lives in road accidents?” asks a private company employee Papi Reddy.

The glaring flaw on this front in traffic management in Hyderabad is the absence of a scientific plan to control road accidents. Special drives are undertaken by the traffic police with different themes — removal of tinted glasses of vehicles, possession of vehicle documents, compliance with technicalities of number plates and so on.

Strangely, they have not yet come out with a programme aiming at reducing accident rate let alone completely checking them. “Focus on traffic management changes whenever top level officer is shifted. When Ms. Tejdeep Kaur Menon was traffic police chief, helmet rule enforcement was vigorously pursued. It is everybody’s experience that traffic police ignore this rule now,” remarks Krishna Reddy, a chartered accountant.

It was argued earlier that wearing helmet can considerably reduce deaths due to head injuries sustained by road accident victims. “If this conjecture holds good now, why bike riders are not being persuaded to wear helmets even as deaths due to head injuries in accidents continue to be reported?” he wonders.

It is true that no serious attempt was made or any strategy was devised to check road accidents because these accidents are fallout of multiple factors, agree traffic police officers in private conversations. “We all alone can do little in minimising road accidents. Other government agencies like those laying roads and responsible for lighting arrangements are equally responsible,” they say.

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