Checking road accidents

This has reference to the editorial’Yet another tragic accident'(DE, Feb25, 2020). It is sad that in yet another accident on Katli road of Tehsil Billawar in Kathua District, nine precious lives have been lost and six others injured.The fact that the deceased included three members of a single family including a father and his two daughters,makes the mishap all the more poignant.The vehicle is reported to have been heavily overloaded and as per reports against the seating capacity of seven passangers, the driver of the ill fated vehicle had packed fifteen passangers. Despite, stringent Motor Vehicle Act in operation in our UT, overloading is common in rural and hilly regions.One reason for overloading is the shortage of passanger vehicles in such regions and the other is the unsatiated greed of the drivers.Every year Road Safety Week is celebrated by the Motor Vehicles Department, during which many activities including rallies are organised and people and the drivers are sensitized about the need to observe traffic rules.But after a few days things return to the same state with the drivers openly flouting traffic rules with impunity. It is a common sight to see drivers driving without seat belts and bikers without wearing helmets.Overspeeding, overloading and overtaking on the wrong side are the major traffic violations which need to be taken cognizance to ensure smooth and safe transport system.Surprise checks ought to be conducted in the morning and evening, especially at the time of opening and closure of schools/offices in the morning and evening when overloading is at its peak.Govt should ply SRTC buses in the regions where there is shortage of passanger vehicles.
Moreover, drivers and conductors should be mandatorily required to wear uniforms to distinguish them from the passangers.There should be a helpline where the passangers can submit their complaints. Passangers ought to avail themselves of this facility and never feel shy of filing complaints of rash driving, misbehaviour etc at the given number.There is also need to conduct refresher/orientation courses for the drivers of passenger light motor vehicles, buses and matadors to sensitise them about the need of safe driving in their own interest and in the interest of the passangers. Last but not least, speed breakers should be painted white and warning boards installed on both sides to warn the drivers against overspeeding.All these measures, if implemented in letter and spirit, can help in minimising road accidents and preventing loss of precious lives.
Ashok Sharma,
Housing Colony, Udhampur