Averting road accidents and resultant deaths

Whenever unfortunately a road accident takes place in Jammu and Kashmir due to whatever reasons resulting in tragic deaths of the people, we react fast and commit to turn heavens not to let it happen again , institute an enquiry and sanction ex-gratia . Soon thereafter, we tend to forget everything until a repetition takes place again causing the loss of precious lives. Although, accidents per se cannot be claimed to be averted fully so as to ”win” a sort of war on them but definitely, we can do a lot concertedly to brig both the number of accidents to the barest minimum as also lessen the impact and fallout of an accident. There can be no special causes as such for causing a road accident except the common ones which can be listed as distracted driving including drunk driving and reckless driving all coming under ”causes due to human fault”. It is believed that how much so ever challenging circumstances are there, if a driver uses his or her discretion, maturity, patience momentary judgment and experience , one can steer safely and reach the destination safe and sound. We have the menace of overloading the vehicles especially on hilly and difficult terrains where normally there is no traffic police surveillance which cause most of the road accidents coupled with issues of fitness of a vehicle plying on routes especially on hilly ones getting least preference or priority .
Can such issues concerning the safety of passengers and pedestrians be taken lightly and at best taken slightly seriously only temporarily depending upon occurrence of an accident or employing long term and consistent measures is not only important but quite central to the issue. Should not deliberations, reviews and monitoring on consistent basis be a part of a comprehensive mechanism on road safety measures by the top authorities of the concerned departments of the UT? Should not the vacant posts in the Traffic Police wing be filled to do away with the shortage of traffic police personnel so that they are deployed on vulnerable roads and points to check and pre-empt violation of traffic rules with intent to avert road accidents ?Last but not least, should roads not be made worthy enough to bear the ever increasing volume of traffic and ensured that there were no potholes to pose dangers ?
That Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha having taken stock of the situation and directing concerned officials , while chairing a meeting on road safety, to identify factors contributing to road accidents and devise measures to tide over the situation is laudable but indicative of the earlier enquiries and probes ordered into various accidents having either served no purpose or the causes, factors and circumstances leading to accidents decidedly submitted to the Government having been either ignored or accorded no importance towards evolving remedial measures . Merely by employing momentary , ad-hoc and patch work solutions are no ways to address the problem of recurring road accidents and the loss of precious lives.
Our Traffic Police does neither appear to be ”operating” except on routes wherefrom VIPs have to pass or at peak traffic time at ”some ” roads to monitor traffic movement or when there is what they call their higher up’s “movement” and beyond that, their role is nowhere to be seen. They are not trained on modern lines and latest technology in traffic management is still far away about which, perhaps, the Lt. Governor made a mention in the Road Safety meeting under reference , their manpower is deficient and that plea is enough for under-performance . During wee and late hours , we never see any deployment on even important and busy beats thus defeating the objective , purpose and the utility of the round the clock duty of the Police force of all of its wings. Medical Authorities are not in a position to fill the vacancies on need based requirement even in premier hospitals hence providing more Trauma Centres at places with greater vulnerability along with specialist Doctors and other staff round the clock , we are afraid, appears more of a theoretical idea rather than an administrative will and wherewithal to practically implement it.
Drunken driving , playing audios and music while driving , using phones while at the wheels , no mandatory honest checking and certification of vehicle fitness , absence of licensing and certification strictness and pruning, deficient or -nil – awareness about traffic rules and discipline, no check on blaring and pressure horns , absence of a comprehensive traffic policy and management and no participation of various stake holders in ensuring proper traffic management, are other problems needed to be addressed and with regular monitoring if we are serious to avert recurring road accidents and thus save precious lives.