Over-speeding, footboard travelling, using mobile phones while driving, and drunken driving, rule the roads

‘Adhere to the road rules,' ‘wear helmets while riding two-wheelers,' ‘over speeding leads to fatal accidents,' ‘avoid drunken driving,' ‘violation of road rules will lead to loss of lives.'

These are some of the oft-repeated warnings issued by the police and transport department to members of the public at the Road Safety Week observed every year. Training programmes, awareness seminars and rallies, and honouring drivers for accident-free service, mark the yearly celebrations. The frequent violation of traffic rules by one and all , including the well educated and professionals, has been a cause of concern for law abiding citizens. What's more unsettling is the casual attitude exhibited by law enforcers towards serious traffic violations before their very eyes.

Over-speeding; footboard travelling; plying on the wrong side of the road; parking in no-parking areas; using mobile phones while driving; failure to use helmets; drunken driving; jumping traffic signals; and overloading of vehicles are some common violations. “Many precious lives are lost due to violations of road rules,” point out police and traffic department officials.

Even on bandh days and holidays accidents are reported and this only showed the reckless attitude of road-users, they say.

A majority of drivers continue to flout traffic rules right under the nose of police personnel, complains K.Mani of Khajamalai, a driver. No one seems to stick to the maximum speed limit of 30 km within the city. Private buses are often found plying at a speed of more than 80 km / hour even in busy city roads, he laments.

Showing scant respect to warnings, drivers continue to park their buses on the middle of the roads or away from the stops, causing traffic congestion. The State Transport Department has planned to redesign the conventional bus stops, especially those located at the proximity of traffic signals, such as Mambala Salai in Srirangam, Puthur four-road junction, and head post office junction.

“We have sought Corporation's assistance in this regard,” says S.Balasubramanian, Regional Transport Officer, Tiruchi.

Another common violation is jumping the signal, which can lead to major accidents. Frequent load shedding has rendered the electronic signals meaningless. The failure of the police to regulate traffic during power tripping at important points such as the Perumpidugi Mutharaiyar statue, district court and MGR statue junction, disquiets' law abiding citizens.

Of late, the three persons riding on one two-wheeler is on the increase. Driving of two-wheelers by school students is yet another serious rule violation.

A rally by police personnel to create awareness on using helmets was flagged off by K.Sokkalingam, IG of Police, on Friday in the city. People are of the view that law enforcers must set an example by using the helmets positively while riding two-wheelers. They are more duty bound to observe traffic rules , they say and complain that none of the policemen wear helmets.

The police, the State transport department and the transport corporation officials agree in one voice that there was growing awareness among the members of the public on road safety .

However, this should not lead to complacency, reckons N. Pasupathi, General Manager, TNSTC, Tiruchi Region. The corporation has taken up a series of programmes to create awareness among the bus crew of the safety aspects and they have evoked good response.

The ever-growing volume of vehicles has been posing a serious challenge to traffic regulators. An estimated 40,000 new vehicles have been added to the city's vehicular might in 2011.

The steps initiated to regulate the traffic, include a master plan for setting up closed circuit television at 25 select locations in the city at an estimate of Rs.1crore, Mr. Balasubramanian says.

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