Telangana

Road safety not a priority for govt. agencies

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Utter lack of coordination among these wings is a cause for concern. Despite best of efforts to give a fillip to road safety, at least two persons lose their lives in road accidents every day in Medak district.

The gruesome death of NTR’s grandson has once again brought the focus on the never ending road accidents. While everyone expresses concern over the alarming rate of road accidents as they spurt up each passing year, road safety is not a priority for any of the government departments, directly or indirectly connected to it.

The Transport, Roads and Buildings, Municipal, Panchayat Raj and Police departments are supposed to ensure the safety of people on the roads, be it laying roads, issuing driving licences, regulation of traffic or enforcement of laws. The paradox is that there is no coordination among these wings nor is importance accorded to road safety to check accidents, many point out.

While every person wanting to drive a motorised vehicle has to secure driving licence from the first wing, other agencies are primarily concerned with laying roads for movement of people and goods. Irrefutably, all policies and actions of these wings should be based on safety of people driving and travelling in vehicles and walking on the roads.

Registering a vehicle and getting a number plate has little to do with accidents but surely securing driving licence and condition of vehicles have direct implications on road accidents. “One has to drive slowly on the test track to get DL but most accidents occur at high speeds. Ironically, ability of a driver to control a vehicle at high speed is not tested while issuing a DL,” points out Ravinder, a businessman.

A person can obtain DL by attending the test using Maruti 800 car but he or she is permitted to drive any light motor vehicle like Scorpio or Fortuner which can be driven at speeds of 140 kmph. “Naturally, the skills required to drive such big vehicles at high speeds are different, and an iota of miscalculation would lead to accidents especially on stretches like Outer Ring Road (ORR),” observes school teacher R. Giridhar Reddy.

A person drives all alone on the test track and gets a DL but actually his driving skills matter when he or she enters roads and junctions witnessing high volumes of traffic and different vehicles moving at varied speeds. For some inexplicable reasons, Road Transport Authority (RTA) officials don’t inspect old vehicles to ascertain if they are fit to be run.

Three days ago, a water tanker ran over a youngster and critically injured another at Sanathnagar. Documents confirmed it was more than 18 years old and was not certified to be fit for road usage by the officials. Normally, every vehicle should be subjected to fitness test after 15 years of registration.

“Even other departments like R & B and Municipality laying roads never review if stretches of roads laid by them are witnessing more accidents. Despite accident statistics indicating that some roads are more vulnerable to accidents, no changes are made to rectify them,” says engineer G. Prasad.

Despite best of efforts to give a fillip to road safety, at least two persons lose their lives in road accidents every day in Medak district.

Careless driving, parents allowing children below 18 years to drive motorcycles, driving on the wrong side of the road, drunken driving, over-speeding and reckless crossing on highways are reasons cited by the police as the cause of accidents on NH-44 and NH-65 besides arterial Rajiv Rahadari.

As many as 124 road accidents took place in Medak district in the past one month, resulting in 69 deaths and injuries to as many as 147 persons. While the Toopran-Nagpur road (NH-44) witnessed 13 accidents, nine deaths and 17 injuries, the NH-65 Mumbai Highway witnessed 28 accidents, 16 deaths and 55 persons getting injured. Rajiv Rahadari saw as many as13 accidents and seven deaths while eight persons were injured in these accidents.

Medak Superintendent of Police Semushi Bajpai says Rajiv Rahadari, that connects Hyderabad with Adilabad district via Karimnagar is not straight. “There are so many sharp curves, ups and downs that lead to accidents. Some roads leading to the highway are the cause of accidents,” he pointed out.

Police officials point out that high-end luxury vehicles are involved in majority of the accidents due to their sheer speed. People do not bother about road safety and don’t wear seat belts, which often leads to death in case of accident.

“Pragnapur, Rimmanaguda, Rane Break liners, Mutrajpalli T- Junction Ontimamidi, Mulugu Juctions, Kunoorpally and Kondapaka have earned notoriety for frequent accidents. “People as well as cattle, unaware of the speed of the vehicles, come on to the roads, leading to accidents. We too are terrified by the speed of the vehicles that ply on the highways,” says Gajwel CI Amrutha Reddy. Even Toopran, Ramayampet on NH-44, Digwal, Kohir, Zaheerabad and Patancheru on NH-65 are accident prone spots in the district.

A police officer lamented that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials rarely cooperate with the police in taking required steps like fixing radium stickers at sharp curves and bends. At several dangerous stretches, warning boards are not erected.

“Though the Government of India suggested that there should be one trauma care centre for every 60 km of National Highway, there is not a single centre in Medak and we are forced to shift patients who meet with serious accidents to Hyderabad,” said an official of the medical department.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:40:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/road-safety-not-a-priority-for-govt-agencies/article6673428.ece

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