COIMBATORE: People’s involvement in the form of adherence to traffic rules and safety norms was stressed on Wednesday at the launch of Uyir – a venture of Ganga Hospital and Rotary District 3200 to prevent accidents on roads.
Inaugurating the project, District Collector Neeraj Mittal pointed out that road safety was not about just one agency ensuring it or of any one aspect alone helping in preventing accidents. “It is found that 71 per cent of fatal accidents involve two-wheelers. This only stresses the importance of wearing helmets,” he said.
“We add 200 vehicles a day in the city and 225 in the rural areas all over the district. This increases the probability of accidents,” he said. The district had asked for Rs. 4 crore for road safety projects this year, he said pointing at the crucial role road or traffic engineering played in averting accidents.
City Police Commissioner C.K. Gandhirajan, who was the chief guest at the inaugural, appreciated the Rotary clubs and Ganga Hospital for the project. It was heartening to note that there were people who wanted to involve themselves in accident prevention.
The Commissioner said the city police had taken up measures to decongest roads, especially in school zones, to avert fatal accidents. Educating drivers of both private and State-owned buses was another step the police had taken to bring down the number of accidents involving these vehicles.
“Accidents are predictable as most of them are caused by human errors. Therefore, they are preventable,” he noted.
Mr. Gandhirajan also highlighted the role of enforcement by saying that Rs.3.19 crore was collected in fines last year for various violations. Policemen with speed guns were cracking down on rule violations.
Despite all these, much more needed to be done as many poor people and school children who walked along the roads were hapless victims of rash driving.
Deputy Transport Commissioner T. Gunasekaran said Rs.5 crore was paid as compensation to accident victims or their families across the country. As much as 0.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product was wasted in this, he said. Mr. Gunasekeran said people need not wait for a rule to wear helmets.
“We will take action against the owners of vehicles even if the drivers are involved in rash driving. The owners have to counsel drivers on safe driving. As for vehicle condition, stringent inspection will be done during fitness checks,” he said.
Trauma care specialist from Australia Michael Parr said road accidents were turning into a major public health care issue in India. When 25 people got killed in a blast at Rawalpindi in Pakistan recently and this made big news, 300 Indians were killed in road accidents the same day, he said, to point how grave the situation was and how it went unnoticed.
In 2005, 9,758 people died in road accidents in Tamil Nadu. This was more than the cases in the whole of Australia. Uyir, he said, was an appreciable effort at reducing mortality and crippling injuries on roads.
Terming road accidents as the epidemic of modern times, Head of the Department of Orthopaedics at Ganga Hospital S. Rajasekaran pointed out that people belonging to three generations in a family suffered if the accident victim was in the 25-45 age group.
Head of the Department of Plastic, Hand and Microsurgery S. Rajasabapathy said if the project became a success in prevention, even those who had not met with accidents would be grateful to it.
Rotary District Assistant Governor Gurdip Singh Anand said Uyir would liaise with Government agencies to create accident-free roads.