The news about CM of Goa wanting strict enforcement of traffic laws after the recent horrific road collision at Corlim is amusing. All this while public was entertained with enforcing seat belts and helmets as the remedy to deaths on the road. Now it is enforcement of traffic laws, which laws in particular are never specified as usual.
Does putting certain areas into PDA for 6 months by the government, as was done in 2002, to facilitate a select real estate firm to get extra F.A.R for its mega housing project in close proximity to a National Highway not compromise road safety? Now as a cover up we have traffic signals installed on a steep slope to facilitate the movement from the housing complex after the area became a accident-prone zone.
Does permitting a shopping mall and other commercial activity within 50 metres of the NH not minimise road safety? Does permitting vehicles beyond the carrying capacity of the roads not minimise road safety? Does non-adherence to road engineering codes not undermine road safety? Does forcing of National Highways through thickly populated residential areas not ensure road hazards?
It is understood that the state traffic police have launched a special drive to crackdown on traffic violations specially related to rash and negligent driving/riding, drunken driving and riding without helmets.
Incidentally rash and negligent driving does not involve only speeding but includes breaking the traffic rules by overtaking from the wrong side, jumping lanes, not showing proper hand signals while riding a two-wheeler or light signals while driving a four-wheeler or a heavy vehicle, etc. A random check also need to be carried out by the traffic police to see whether vehicles have all the side-lights, brake-lights, etc. in working condition. It is observed that several two-wheelers do not have the rear-view mirrors. It must be said that the rear-view mirror is an important part of a two-wheeler. The absence of a rear-view mirror makes it impossible for the rider to see the traffic coming from the back which can result in an accident while over-taking.
All two-wheelers need to mandatorily have two rear-view mirrors, one on either side of the handle-bar of the vehicle. It is seen that young riders of two-wheeler use ear-phones, which is plugged to the mobile, to listen to music while riding. Listening to music while riding a two-wheeler can cause distraction and the rider may not be able to hear the honking of the vehicle at the back. It is also observed that several lady two-wheeler riders are in the habit of covering their face with a scarf while riding. The scarf can become a hindrance. The breeze can even make the scarf momentarily cover the eyes thereby temporarily blinding the rider which could lead to an accident. It may also be necessary to ban ladies from covering the face with a scarf while riding a two-wheeler.
Open letter to the
The alarming rate of deaths on the roads of Goa portrays the inefficiency of the of authorities deployed by the government to prevent road accidents by ensuring the motorist follow the rules set up by the concerned department.
The man at the helm, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar should step up to identify accident-prone zones and rectify the same by installing speed breaker humps rather than the rumblers that do not slow down the traffic instead many motorist speed up on them, dividers need to be installed on roads that are wide enough for two lanes.
The Chief Minister should initiate an awareness drive through mass media communication, temples, churches and masjids should be roped in to spread the awareness, at the same time municipalities and panchayats should also initiate the awareness program in their respective wards.
As for the traffic department who’s primary objective to contain road accidents seems to be by collecting funds from those not using helmets and seat belts should target locals and inter-state buses who prefer stopping on the roads rather than at bus stands, bus stops & bus hubs which in many locations around Goa are used as parking bays for trucks and cattle.
Glestone Fernandes, Cuncolim
Albertina Almeida in her article, "Of accidents, masculinity and (absence of) Rule of Law" (Herald, Comment, April 20) has rightly said about road accidents, "One major factor is the advertisements on hoardings and print and electronic media for these super-cars and super-bikes which add in no small measure to a consolidation of macho attitudes of 'speed- driving-is-power-and-supermanhood'."
Indeed, driving with macho mindset can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Such a mindset is intoxicated by aggressive advertisements that want to reduce us to callous animated cartoon like characters who cannot feel the pain of a victim of hit-and-run accident.
So, along with strict implementation of Motor Vehicle Act and the ban on bars and the vending of liquor within 500 meters from the national and state highways, to censor such advertisements is also a must to make our roads free and easy sans reckless clowns.
Is the Goa government really interested in curbing road accidents and road death? Is the Goa Government and Goa Police competent? Their reaction and exercise display total ignorance on the causes of accidents.
To prevent deaths on the roads, one has to prevent accidents first. Reports in the press state that police drive on Highways following Tuesday's meeting, booked most for not using helmets. Do helmets prevent accidents? Helmets will only prevent head injury to an extent after an accident. Cancel licenc
es of those unaware of traffic Rules. RTO need to themselves have knowledge of traffic rules and be strict in the issuance of licences. Most women riders on two- wheeler are least bothered about other road users and ride anyside of the road and turn without any concern. There is total lack of traffic discipline and only correcting and instilling traffic discipline can prevent accidents to a large extent.
Dr. Ferdinando dos Reis Falcão, Margao