Ensuring Road Safety
As India enters National Road Safety Week (January 11 to the 17th), the disquieting trend of rise in fatalities from road accidents despite the initiation of the campaign more than three decades ago, may leave many perplexed. According to data published by the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 4,03,116 road accidents were reported during 2021, leading to the deaths of more than 1.55 lakh persons and injury of over 3.70 lakh people. This was against 1.33 lakh fatalities from 3.54 lakh road accidents reported in 2020. The report also revealed that 59.7% of the total accidents registered in 2021 were due to over-speeding, resulting in most deaths and injuries, while second highest fatalities were attributed to careless driving, followed by driving under influence. Another interesting finding was that more than half of the accidents reported during the year took place on the National Highways and State Highways though they account for barely five percent of the total road length in the country. The data indicates that avoiding over-speeding can save precious lives; drastically reduce fatalities and injuries from road accidents. Road users also should follow safety measures like not jumping red lights, driving under influence and using mobile phones while behind the wheels. Maintaining lane discipline, buckling of seat belt and wearing of helmets for motorbike riders are equally important.
The Dimapur police have also highlighted several road safety measures and cautioned the people from driving beyond the prescribed speed limit or in inebriated state. Reminding certain rules, the police said that it is mandatory for the rider and pillion rider of two wheelers to wear helmets, juveniles are prohibited from driving and vehicles are not allowed to carry passengers beyond the authorised limit. Such safety measures are badly needed as the city accounts for most road accident cases in Nagaland. However, nothing will change if the concerned authorities fail to strictly implement the regulations and the public continues to be indifferent towards road safety, break traffic rules and undermine the value of protective gears. The central and state agencies also should ensure that road safety hazards are addressed and clear road signs installed at high risk and high-density corridors. Road safety audits should be carried out diligently. Companies manufacturing vehicles in the country also should not compromise safety features just to bring down the price of their products as it can prove costly for its customers and others. Our unsafe roads demand safety features in vehicles. Collective cooperation of all stakeholders is a necessity to ensure road safety.