Mobility with safety has to be the guiding principle for any Traffic manager. To achieve this, the Traffic unit needs to build its action plan on the four pillars of Education, Regulation, Enforcement and Road Engineering (ERER) – all well known facets of traffic management. The mantra of ERER, however, needs to become a vision shared by all traffic personnel so that they do not remain moribund and freely contribute newer ideas to enhance mobility with safety.
Design and condition of roads and vehicles coupled with road users’ capacity and conduct are the major factors behind road accidents. Certain accidents occur despite best precautions because of defective roads and difficult driving conditions or hostile environment. Similarly, defective vehicle’s designs tend to accentuate road accident probability. However, a substantial majority of accidents occur due to human factors both on the part of driver and other road users. The incidence and probability of road accidents further increase if there is a general disregard for traffic safety norms. Needless to say violation of traffic norms is not considered an amoral act by the most road users in Delhi. Consequently, driving on Delhi’s roads is a nightmare for any sane person.
Vehicular population in Delhi has been increasing at a fast pace and the number of registered vehicles is around 90 lakhs. Cars and two – wheelers constitute about 94% of the total number of vehicles registered in Delhi. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes can be seen on Delhi’s roads leading to a ‘disconnect’ between their speed and inherently unsafe driving conditions prevail.
During the last few years, about 2000 lives have been lost in road accidents every year on Delhi Roads. The number of persons receiving injuries is around 7000 per annum and many of them get incapacitated for life. The loss of lives and injuries in road accidents is unduly high and the statistical decline seen during the recent past gives us no cause for celebration.
The most disturbing aspect of road accidents is that majority of the victims are in the productive phase of their lives. It is estimated that over 60-65 percent of the road accident victims are in the age group of 19 to 40 years. Youth, notwithstanding their better physical and mental reflexes, have a tendency to take risk, which pitches them against traffic norms and makes them vulnerable to road accidents.
Effective societal intervention is, therefore, essential to create a respect for road safety. Since a substantial majority of vehicles are privately owned and are used for private transportation, parents and teachers need to put their best foot forward to create an aura of morality for traffic norms. Commercial vehicle drivers – a much maligned community being responsible for a large number of accidents – can be easily disciplined if traffic policemen are freed from managing the private vehicles whose drivers / riders tend to violate traffic norms at the first opportunity. Road users, civil society and all other influential individuals and groups – whether governmental, social, religious and political – need to extend their full support to make roads safer.