Herald: Stiff monetary fines can be the only way to stem traffic violations
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Stiff monetary fines can be the only way to stem traffic violations

13 May 2018 05:37am IST
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13 May 2018 05:37am IST

With a population of nearly 15 lakh and a floating population of nearly 27-30 lakh, Goa happens to be one of the most unsafe places on the roads. As per a study by the Transport Research Wing of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the state of Goa recorded 217.7 accidents per lakh population in 2017. Nearly every day one person is killed in an accident on Goa roads. This figure is quite alarming as Goa tops India’s road accident rate, despite having a high literacy rate. Lowest accidents were reported in Lakshadweep at 1.2 followed by Nagaland at 3.2 against the all India average of 37.9. 

These untoward incidents could be avoided by adopting simple safety measures like all passengers using seat belts in a four-wheeler and helmets on a two-wheeler and also by thinking about the safety of others too. A majority of the accidents happen because of the “me first” attitude at rush hour when there is no room for thinking about other people on the road. 

It would not be fair just to blame the traffic police as they are mere spectators and also it is physically not possible for them to control the majorly unruly traffic. It is a mindset and this needs to be changed for the benefit of all those who are on road, whether going for work, going back home or enjoying a drive as a tourist. Yes, speed thrills, but kills. 

It is normally said, do not mix drinking with driving, but what happens when a driver is totally sober and is oblivious of simple traffic and parking rules? Wrong and unruly parking is another hazard that results in several accidents. Normally very few would take a look back at surroundings and their parking spot and here lies the problems which could lead to an accident.

In Goa people are usually in a happy and relaxed mood, especially the tourists. Compared to the metros, where they would be always on high alert due to heavy traffic and stricter rules and the fear of monetary fines, in Goa they would find good roads, sometimes narrow, which coax them to enjoy the speed. Naturally, they let their guard down, and low alertness levels coupled with high speed leads to accidents.

It is no rocket science to determine the major cause of death in a road accident. It is obviously head or spinal injury. Most of the passengers sitting behind a four-wheeler or riding pillion in a two-wheeler would not wear a seat belt or helmet and this is a major cause of head and spinal injury during an accident. The concept in India is to wear seat belts only while driving on a highway and not on city roads, which is totally incorrect and can be fatal.

Getting a driving licence through corrupt practices also leads to the hike in number of accidents. The Transport Department must realise that a single licence given to the one who does not deserve or qualify to drive is a threat on the road not only for oneself but for others too. Overtaking vehicles at a turning, and that too from the left hand side, especially by two-wheelers, is another hazardous action that invites accidents. All these nuances must be known to all the drivers before obtaining a driving licence. 

People only fear monetary fines. The Union Transport ministry has multi-fold hiked the penalties and fines on traffic violations but the implementations of those has to be done on the road by the traffic police. If done properly, it could not only save lives but also could be a good source for revenue for the government given the number of violations of rules on the road.
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