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Updated: October 29, 2012 11:51 IST
ROAD SAFETY

Tamil Nadu among ‘top 5’

S. Vijay Kumar
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HIGHWAY TO HELL: This accident involving a Tamil Nadu government-operated bus killed nine people including a child and injured many. The bus rammed a stationary lorry on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway near Kancheepuram in August. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam
HIGHWAY TO HELL: This accident involving a Tamil Nadu government-operated bus killed nine people including a child and injured many. The bus rammed a stationary lorry on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway near Kancheepuram in August. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The East Coast Road is a favourite destination for Chennaiites to burn the rubber at high speeds. Despite intermittent vehicle checks and speed restrictions, the ECR has become notorious for accidents, particularly on the Chennai-Puducherry stretch.

Since most road accidents are caused by speeding vehicles, the Kancheepuram police, whose jurisdiction begins after Muttukadu Boat House, have adopted an innovative strategy. They have put up barricades with an in-built siren and flash light. “Vehicles approaching the barricade after dusk can see a red light flashing and hear the siren. These barricades have been installed in accident-prone zones so that vehicles will slow down. The number of accidents in the Muttukadu-Mahabalipuram segment has taken a dip,” says Kancheepuram Superintendent of Police S. Manoharan.

Tamil Nadu roads recorded 13 per cent of road accidents and 12 per cent fatal road accidents in the country. The State was among the top five — along with Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra — which contributed nearly half of all fatalities in 2011.

The government has proposed to enhance the Road Safety Fund from Rs. 40 crore in 2010-11 to Rs. 65 crore this year. This will be utilised to improve traffic management and rectify engineering defects in accident prone areas.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has ordered the number of Highway Patrol Vehicles, usually the first to reach an accident scene, to be increased from 122 to 260. “Though four-lane roads did provide swift connectivity to major cities, they also bore the brunt of fatalities. Rash and negligent driving coupled with drunken driving is often the culprit,” adds a senior police official.

Fatal accidents in Tamil Nadu have almost doubled in ten years — from 8,269 in 2000 to 14,359 in 2011. Last year, Chennai reported the highest number of deaths (1,399), followed by Kancheepuram (916) and Villupuram (867). However, in the last year fatalities in Chennai fell by 10 percentage points.

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