Road safety: A neglected subject despite 122 deaths in last two years
Kohima, April 30 (EMN): As the 29th National Road Safety Week came to a close on Monday, an official of the regional transport establishment has underscored that road safety remains as one of the most neglected subjects.
Nationally, road accident fatalities are higher than any epidemic, with a major vehicle accident occurring every minute, bringing the average annual statistics to 5,25,600 major road accidents and 1,48,000 deaths. Nagaland adds to this figure as well: in 2016, there were 736 road accidents with 500 injuries and 59 fatalities; while 2017 saw 696 accidents, 455 injuries 63 deaths.
This was stated by the senior district transport officer Kohima, Yaongsanglee Chang during a one-day workshop on road safety awareness at the Capital Convention Centre in Kohima, conducted for public transport drivers. The official said these figures may not be accurate as there are many cases where accidents occurring in remote places go unreported, while in some cases, the matter get solved mutually between the parties, failing to make it to the official records.
Stating that while Nagas hold the value of forgiveness ‘very dear’, he felt it does not serve the purpose of road safety. In Nagaland, he pointed out that most of the road accident cases such as vehicle collisions get resolved ‘amicably’ between the owners of the vehicles. In some cases, where there is a mutual agreement, he said the damaged vehicles would be repaired or vehicles are replaced by the erring parties, and cases of injury are resolved mostly through the form of bearing the cost of treatment of the injured person. The official asserted that when erring drivers are not brought to book, they would not learn any lesson for their negligence, carelessness and rash driving.
He lamented that unless on issues of claiming insurance purposes, accident reports officially do not go the transport establishment and the services of the department’s technical persons to ascertain the actual causes of accidents are not put to use.
Chang said technical reports can be used to identify areas or stretches of roads where accidents are frequent or where accidents are more prone to happen and that way, improvements on road technology can also be suggested.
Pointing out that there has been a vast improvement in vehicle technology and most of the accidents now are caused due to human error, the official expressed concern that it was as though the people have become non-reactive to accidents. He said many people drive without realising that once they were on the wheels of a vehicle, they are responsible for their own lives, the lives of the passengers in that vehicle, for the hundreds of pedestrians they come across in the course of their journey, and also for the lives of the people in the vehicles they come across on the road.
Towards this, he said, the entire purpose of having a Motor Vehicle Act and Rules, enforcement agencies and road safety awareness programmes gets defeated.
The official made an appeal to all who drive two-wheelers to wear helmets while on the road, ensure that the pillion rider does the same; while also emphasizing the need for all to wear seatbelts when travelling in a vehicle. He urged upon all present to take this message to others.
The participants of the workshop included members of All Nagaland Taxi Association (ANTA), city-bus drivers and government drivers.
EAC Kohima, Changsang Soted also exhorted the gathering on the importance of road safety awareness during the programme. Later, a technical session was held, where topics including ‘road signs, penalties etc.’ and ‘traffic management in Kohima town’ were explored by MVI L Engo Konyak and Dy. SP (Traffic) Kohima Philip Yanthan respectively.