Non-compliance with traffic rules is one of the reasons: Plan document

The State, which saw a whopping increase in vehicle population during 2006-2011, also experienced an alarmingly high rate of fatal accidents.

Even as vehicles grew by 66 per cent in the five years, the rate of accidents went up by about 43 per cent and persons killed by 40 per cent.

Though not many experts are ready to see one-to-one relationship between the growth in vehicle population and the rise in road accidents, the State Planning Commission (SPC)’s 12th Five Year Plan document has pointed to the increase in vehicle population as one of the causes for the increasing rate of accidents. The primary reason adduced by the document is non-compliance with traffic rules by drivers and “careless and negligence” by road users.

The document, which has been made available in the public domain recently, also states that both categories of vehicles – transport and non-transport – saw a quantum jump during 2006-2011. Transport vehicles recorded 59.79 per cent increase and non-transport vehicles 66.15 per cent. Transport vehicles include stage carriages (bus), mini bus, contract carriage (auto-rickshaws, taxies, maxi cabs and omni buses), goods carriage, school buses & private service vehicles and ambulances & fire fighters, whereas non-transport vehicles essentially pertain to  two wheelers, tractors and trailers and motors cars and jeeps.

Different factors have contributed to the growth in vehicle population between 2006 and 2011.  Apart from income-elastic demand, the availability of liberal loans and expansion of road network are among the factors.

In the period from April 2009 to March 2012, the State’s overall growth rates varied from 10.36 per cent to 7.37 per cent, indicating a relatively higher growth phase.     

Talking of the accident rate, M.S. Srinivasan, former advisor (Roads) in the State government, emphasises that various experts including highways engineers, psychologists and police officials must carry out an in-depth study and analysis of road accidents.  Unless this is done and human factors that lead to the accidents are addressed, there will be no qualitative improvement.  

N.S. Srinivasan, chairman of the Transport Advisory Forum, says there has to be a strategic plan to reduce the number of accidents. The authorities should carry out identification of vulnerable areas, determination of targets and review of performance with regard to targets. For instance, the problem of drunken driving can be taken up.

Pointing out that the growth of vehicle population is inevitable, the former advisor (Roads) says that given the increase in vehicles, the rate of accidents should come down, at least in urban areas, because of congestion and the capacity of roads remaining more or less the same.

But, the incidence is on the rise.

This is why there is greater need for an in-depth study and analysis of the road accidents.  

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