The recurring road accidents involving heavy vehicles on the busy Tiruchi-Karur-Coimbatore stretch of NH 67 is causing huge concern to road managers and law enforcement authorities . Development of the road stretch has in fact paved the way for a spurt in the number of accidents in the recent past.
Worse part is that it is becoming increasingly impossible to pinpoint the blame on just one road user group. While the sand lorries, plying in thousand unhindered every day, on the route are the prime source of menace, of late even TNSTC busses and private bus operators have been driving menacingly along the stretch infusing horror among other small road users.
Apart from sand lorries, the hundreds of trucks and tippers carrying blue metal from the quarries of Karur district to destinations in Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, and Karaikal have also turned tormentors of road safety. Invariably most of the trucks, be they sand laden lorries or blue metal carrying trucks or even cement transporting vehicles, almost all vehicles carting goods within the State are over loaded.
Most of the vehicles carry double the sanctioned load. Not a day passes in the stretch without an accident or two involving fatalities and casualties resulting in loss of life or limbs to the crew or road users. If motorists commit such crimes as over loading, rash driving or speedy and dangerous driving, then the State government induces them to have a swig or two as they coast along the highway stretch by providing TASMAC retail shops at important junctions en route. There are numerous TASMAC retail shops on the roadside between Tiruchi and Karur and one can find quite a number of crew sipping ale at them. Mushrooming restaurants along the road also pose danger as the drivers’ park the vehicles unmindful of the danger they pose.
Despite persistent demands, the liquor shops at Mayanur and Manavasi have not been relocated so far and they are the main source of trouble with the sand lorry turn point nearby.
There has been a spurt in the number of road accidents involving trucks in Karur district over the past month and more, and that calls for concerted efforts on the part of the police administration to curb the rising accident graph .
Police some months back went on a special drive to prevent sand lorry drivers from indulging in drunken driving. A police patrol stationed at the quarry used the breathe analyser to single out drunken crew at the source itself and prevent them from operating the vehicle. Since the crew too looses the load, there was some fear among drivers to consume a drink before driving. Inexplicably it was withdrawn after some time exposing all road users to danger. Public would be happy if the district police see merit in the practice and resume that.