Cities

A video and a ‘Roadeo’

Have you ever listened to a lecture from a robot on the dangers of wrong-way-driving?

Last month, the Chennai City Police released an awareness video about wrong-way driving, which is available on the Facebook page of the Chennai City Police and Chennai City Traffic Police. The video shows a man on a bike with his young son seated in the front taking a U-turn and driving in the wrong direction, when he is stopped by a traffic policeman. The driver tries to argue his way out of the situation but is soon spotted by his school teacher who happens to be at the same spot. The teacher then advises him to follow obey all traffic rules, particularly lane discipline and helmet use.

The reason that wrong-way driving was made the central point of the road-safety awareness video is obvious. In Chennai, even where roads have adequate direction boards and signages and also barricades in the form of median, traffic cones and metal barriers, wrong-way driving is rampant.

“Traffic police personnel are deployed at major junctions and congestion-prone areas to regulate traffic, especially during the rush hour. Barricades are placed at roads prone to congestion to prevent drivers from violating traffic rules. However, we still find a few people driving on the wrong side to avoid waiting at the signal or when they are in a hurry. Wrong-way driving is not so prevalent on roads that have a traffic police presence,” says a senior officer of the Greater Chennai Traffic Police.

According to the officer, wrong-way driving occurs more often at night as the roads are free and there are no traffic personnel around. A traffic-free road and wrong-way driving make a deadly combination, he cautions.

“GST Road, for example, is prone to wrong-side driving, especially at night as heavy vehicles, pass through this stretch. These drivers seem to be in a tearing hurry always and often indulge in wrong-way driving,” he adds.

“In Nandanam, the traffic police have placed barricades from Turnbulls Road till the intersection of Thevar statue on Anna Salai, one of the busiest stretches in the city, to prevent motorists from driving on the wrong side. Those heading to Venkatnarayana Road from Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar Road cannot drive straight from the intersection but have to take a left and take the Link Road to reach Venkatnarayana Road. The barricades are placed in such a way that motorists can’t bypass the left turn,” says another senior officer.

Social media platforms

“Apart from the usual enforcements such as spot fines and other disciplinary action, we are also making use of social media platforms to raise awareness about traffic rules and road safety. It helps the department to reach out to a larger audience,” says R. Sudhakar, Joint Commissioner of Traffic (South).

Meet the ‘robocop’

If you drop in at the traffic police wing at the office of the Commissioner of Police, you will be greeted by ‘Roadeo’ a robot that the Chennai Traffic Police inducted into the road safety gallery in January this year.

The robot was developed by a private robotics lab in the city.

“Roadeo is programmed to deliver road safety awareness messages to visitors. The robot is always an instant hit with children. The traffic police personnel and traffic wardens take the robot to schools as part of road safety awareness campaigns to teach children about traffic rules and road safety. Schools can also arrange a visit for the children to the traffic wing by obtaining permission and meet Roadeo,” says R. Sudhakar, Joint Commissioner of Traffic (South).

Watch a video about Rodeo at http://bit.ly/ROADEOrobot

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 9:04:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/have-you-ever-listened-to-a-lecture-from-a-robot-on-the-dangers-of-wrong-way-driving/article27013425.ece

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