Like the two sides of a coin, there is good and bad news for the motorists of Madurai city and suburban pockets.
The number of fatal accidents is steadily falling in the city limits, while it is steadily rising manifold, in the suburbs, according to police officials.
Though there are a number of factors leading to accidents – minor and major – fatal and non-fatal, police feel that two-wheeler riders are mostly hit in the city limits, while major collisions involving heavy vehicles are reported in suburban pockets.
Five days ago, District Collector C. Kamaraj while on his way to attend an official function near Arasaradi, spotted three youths riding on a motor-cycle. He immediately stopped them. Though he was getting delayed for his meeting, Mr. Kamaraj advised the boys to stick to road rules as triple riding was not only risky, but may result in accidents as there were more chances of the rider losing balance.
Commissioner of Police P. Balasubramanian said that they have been according top priority to the enforcement of Motor Vehicles Act. The fact that the fines imposed/collected from erring motorists' have risen is adequate proof. “Sustained vigil had helped in the fall in the number of accidents,” he added.
The number of fatal cases was 89 till September 23, 2009, while it was 81 (till September 23, 2010) in the city limits. Accident-prone stretches such as T.P.K. Road, Kamarajar Salai, Thathaneri-Aruldosspuram, By-pass, Melur Road and Munichalai Road would have more number of police. “We don't want to just impose fines, but also educate the motorists. As a last resort, the vehicles are seized,” he noted. On the timings, Mr. Balasubramanian said that they were high between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.; 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
A traffic officer at Periyar Bus Stand said that they would intensify imposing fines on motorists' who were spotted talking on mobile phones while riding/driving their vehicles.
On the contrary, the statistics is disturbing in the suburbs. Superintendent of Police M. Manohar said that in 2009, every day there was a fatal accident in some corner or the other. With four-lane roads laid almost on all approaching stretches outside the city and with the rise in number of vehicles, accidents had risen, he noted.
However, in a bid to control the rise, the highway police have been entrusted with the task of ensuring that vehicles were not parked on unauthorised spots during the day and in the night. Similarly, cement laden-lorries have been instructed to display reflectors boldly. The District Collector had approved certain plans tabled in the road safety meeting, which would be executed by the police soon, he added.