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Roads becoming safer in city?

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LAW &ORDER According to official figures, the number of accidents has been dropping in the city in the last three years, writes Biju Govind

Is the number of accidents and accident-related deaths going down in Kozhikode city? According to figures available with the traffic department in City Police Commissioner's Office, the figure has been showing a decreasing trend in the last three years.

If the number of fatal accidents registered in 2003 was 119, it was 115 in 2004 and 103 in 2005. The figures for deaths in these cases were 136, 120 and 118, respectively.

The number of non-fatal accidents has also dropped. The figures stood at 1,726, 1,625 and 1,535, respectively, for the three years. The number of persons injured went down from 2,035 two years ago to 1,652 the previous year. Two-wheelers, particularly motorcycles, were involved in over 65 per cent of the accident cases, officials say.

Involvement of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses in accidents was negligible, the figures say.

Accidents such as motorists hitting road dividers and electric posts, apart from those involving collision of vehicles, were also taken into account while computing figures for the three years. But these figures are comparatively less and are in single digits.

Traffic department officials attribute the decrease in the number of accident cases to stringent measures adopted against traffic violations. Awareness classes for drivers at all levels have also helped curtail offences, said A.K. Babu, Circle Inspector, traffic department.

Officials say half the valid traffic licence holders have little knowledge about traffic regulations and rules. A majority of them evade the law after greasing the palms of traffic policemen. There were habitual offenders too.

The number of accidents in the city can be reduced if road users shed carelessness. Rules cannot be diligently applied if a family of four, including two children, are travelling on a motorcycle. But they can prefer a safer means of transport, officials say.

City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh says that campaigns on safe utilisation of roads and safe driving have helped control the number of the accidents. Another reason for the decline in the accident rates is a drive against wrongdoers. Speeding and using mobile phones while driving are charged under Section 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Drunken driving is also being sternly dealt with.

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