‘Increase in number of vehicles helped in reducing fatalities'
Even though more than 42 lakh vehicles ply on the city roads daily - with the figure growing every year - Bangalore City Traffic Police have claimed that the number of accidents reported, as well as number of fatalities, in 2011 was a ten-year low for the city.
While 2007 saw the highest number of fatalities at 981 from 8,426 accidents, 2011 saw 753 deaths from 6,009, making it the lowest since 2002.
According to M.A. Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security), the decrease in the deaths was due to “effective” policing.
“There has been a stricter enforcement of the law and special drives have been conducted to curb violations, especially drinking and driving, and drag racing,” he said. These drives correspond to an increase in number of cases registered against violators — from around 16 lakh in 2007 to 46 lakh in 2011.
Mr. Saleem attributes the reduction of fatalities to the B-TRAC awareness campaigns.
Hoardings on road safety have gone from plain sloganeering to the usage of explicit pictures and videos of accidents as captured by CCTV cameras. The videos — the most popular being that of a montage of cringe-worthy accidents to a peppy Shankar Mahadevan tune — seem to have caught the fancy of other traffic departments in the country as well as international attention.
Mr. Saleem said that Vadodara, Pune and Ahmedabad had sought permission to air the videos in their cities, while a Japanese television network asked for the video capturing a car running over a two-wheeler on Hosur Road (the video which was uploaded on social networking site Facebook, attracting more than 53,000 views).
Lower vehicular speeds
While enforcement is a contributing factor to reduce accidents and campaigns have only a limited reach, G. Gururaj, Head of Department of Epidemiology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), said that the increase in number of vehicles played an important part in reducing fatalities.
“There is a reduction in speed because of the addition of more than three lakh vehicles in the city every year. Before, slow moving traffic was reported only in the city centre, whereas now, even residential areas see congestion,” he said.
Dr. Gururaj cited the extensive infrastructure overhauls in the city — from metro construction, sewage and drain works to relaying footpaths across the city — had reduced vehicular speeds across the city.