I disagree with the contention of the writers that the need of the hour is to focus on a scientific investigation of road accidents (“On the road to safety,” June 18). The reason that India has such a notorious road safety record is simple — poor enforcement of traffic rules, as a result of which a healthy fear of the law is missing. It is common to see motorists jumping signals and overspeeding on highways. Offences that have the potential to cause fatalities (like overspeeding, drunk driving and signal-jumping) must be immediately flagged with an adverse note in the driving licence of the offender. It is the promulgation and strict enforcement of such a law, along with scientific analysis of road accident data, that will help reduce accidents significantly.
Many in India who operate vehicles on the road do not know how to drive properly. We are prone to overspeeding, rash driving, breaking traffic rules, not wearing helmets/seat belts, jumping red lights, and showing little concern for fellow-motorists. We need to streamline our transportation system and educate people on traffic rules. Our vehicles, particularly small and medium-size segment cars, need to have adequate safety features. Cyclists must get safe and well-maintained cycle tracks. Finally, traffic police and highway patrols have to be extra vigilant in order to instil fear in all road-users.
The article reminded me of a move by the Tamil Nadu government recently to seek the help of developed countries for enhancing expertise in administrative tools, methods and processes concerning road use. In this connection, Australia will work with Tamil Nadu in implementing the “Victoria Road Safety Model” and work on the East Coast Highway.
We also need to fix fundamental issues on preventing road accidents such as a more rigid driving licence process like in the developed countries, enhanced road infrastructure and road design.