Traffic police get lessons on road safety

Andrew Udall, retired chief inspector of the U.K. police, at a workshop in Byculla on Tuesday   | Photo Credit: FARIHA FAROOQUI

Mumbai: Enforcing helmets on bikers has always been an uphill task for the men in khaki. And to overcome this challenge by drawing up operational procedures, the Mumbai traffic policemen are getting lessons on enforcing road safety by a retired chief inspector of the U.K. police.

On Tuesday, the first day of a three-day workshop, Andrew Udall, the retired chief inspector of U.K. police told The Hindu that globally, riding without helmets was a significant problem, which came attached with frightening statistics.

The workshop is being held at the Traffic Police Training Institute in Byculla from April 25 to 27, and is being undertaken under the United Nations’ Decade of Action on Road Safety by the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) in Geneva, Switzerland, in association with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS).

“The main aim of this workshop is to equip the Mumbai traffic police with better skills and to train them in internationally accepted practices to increase their ability to enforce wearing of helmets,” Mr. Udall said.

The workshop will focus on the four main aspects of road casualties — helmets, seat belts, speeding and drunk driving. While all the topics will be covered, special emphasis would be given on wearing helmets as they are associated with the highest fatality rate. The workshop has been divided into three events — writing a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) document for helmet enforcement, helmet enforcement training to police personnel, and training trainers at the institute to sharpen their skills.

“The concept is to give them the basic skills to initiate checkpoints in a controlled way, teach them how to interact with the public and to increase the number of tickets given,” he said. Mr. Udall stressed on the importance of maintaining a zero tolerance approach to offenders. “These practices have to be maintained for at least six to twelve months so that people get the message that it is cheaper to buy a helmet than it is to keep paying a fine. This was the basic philosophy,” he said.

Comparing road discipline in the United Kingdom and India, Mr. Udall highlighted India’s neglect of adherence to law. “People in the U.K. follow rules and regulations more willingly and have a culture of compliance. The dangers of driving rashly aren’t well understood over here,” he said, adding “here, people think that if you can get a gap, fill it. The main difference is the lack of road discipline.”

The GRSP and the BIGRS are also working with NGOs, educational institutions and other road safety institutes to spread and implement awareness at grass-root-level, by teaching children how to cross the road, and helping devise more comprehensive examinations for people sitting for their drivers’ test, among others.

“Tangible change is a slow process,” Mr. Udall stresses, but one which can be accomplished by impactful messages, strict enforcement, media support, and strong campaigning. “The idea is to reach out to various communities to get the message across.”

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 6:38:40 AM |

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