TAMIL NADU

Spurt in fatal road accidents, cause for concern

CHENNAI JULY 3. The miraculous escape of four school children returning home in an autorickshaw on Monday stands out in contrast to the death of four persons including a one and half year old child during the last 36 hours in different road accidents.

The slew of deaths in road accidents again brought to the fore the deadly toll paid by city residents, and the lackluster response of the official agencies.

The child, Rohit Kumar, was hit by a Qualis while walking along with his parents on Choolaimedu High Road and Neelakandan Road junction on Tuesday evening. He died later in hospital. While the driver of the vehicle has been charged with reckless driving, police officers observe if the parents had taken some care and not allowed the child to walk on the `dangerous side' of the road the accident could have been averted.

The recklessness of an autorickshaw driver nearly cost the lives of four students who were returning home from Santhome to Mannady on Monday. The autorickshaw hit a stationary vehicle near War Memorial in which two of the students suffered minor injuries. The accident did not cause more serious injury to the students as their flimsy three wheeler did not collide with another moving vehicle, police said.

In another accident, a resident of Washermanpet, Velayutham (27) was fatally knocked down in a `hit and run' accident in the early hours of Tuesday. The victim was walking along Ennore Express Highway when he was hit by a speeding vehicle, suspected to be a container lorry. The entire stretch of Ennore Express Highway plunges into darkness during the night hours creating a stretch that ``invites road mayhem, precisely the kind of points to be flagged by the Road Safety Commissioner (Transport Commissioner) for remedial action as per a G.O'', notes a traffic planner.

Several letters to the authorities concerned for improving safety conditions and installing lights on this particular stretch has not had any response. Slums dwellers live dangerously close along the carriageway in several parts along this Express Highway.

A van driver while reversing his vehicle at Pedariyar Koil Street in Muthialpet caused the death of a casual labourer Kanchivardhan (45). The driver reversed the van without realising that the victim was behind the vehicle.

A youth travelling on the footboard of an Ennore-bound MTC bus from High Court had a fatal fall at S.N. Chetty Street and Balakrishnan Street junction on Tuesday evening.

The DCP Traffic, Karuna Sagar said that an analysis of the four fatal accidents showed that they were caused because of negligence on the part of the driver or victims. Police were taking steps to prevent road accidents and make travelling safer but strict enforcement alone was not sufficient, there should be co-operation from road users, he said.

The death of the infant at Choolaimedu was disturbing evidence of incidents which could be prevented with better civic sense, ACP (Traffic Investigation) S.Rajeshwari said. As part of traffic investigation the police were also studying the causes of accidents and taking efforts for making these zones safer for motorists, she said.

The JCP Traffic U.G.Sastry said that the police were implementing a comprehensive plan to ensure that students travelled in a safe mode of transport.

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