The 31st National Road Safety Week began here on Saturday amidst awareness programmes and campaigns.
The two main departments, the Traffic Police and the Road Transport Authority, have a series of awareness programmes, campaigns and competitions lined up for the week.
Speaking at the inaugural programme. Deputy Transport Commissioner Raja Ratnam said that every year about 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents in the country and many more are debilitated. “There is need to create a widespread awareness to reduce the loss of life in road accidents. And it is seen that about 60% of the accidents involve youth and men and women in their prime. That is why the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has chosen the theme: Bringing change through youth power,” he said.
Police Commissioner R.K. Meena said that the prime focus area of the commissionerate was to reduce the rate of road accidents.
“Every year over 350 people die in road accidents and in most cases it is seen that the people who die are young men, who leave behind a young family to suffer for their entire life,” said Mr. Meena.
According to Mr. Meena, the main reasons for fatal accidents are not wearing helmets, not using seat belts, drink driving, over speed, not following rules and using cellphones while driving.
But this apart there are a few road engineering issues that need to be addressed to mitigate the issue, he said.
As per a senior officer in the traffic department, road engineering is a multi-department task and the main stakeholders are the GVMC and the NHAI.
There are multiple defects and they need to be addressed on a war-footing, he said.
One major problem noticed is the zebra crossing for the pedestrians. As per NCRB statistics, the worst hit are the pedestrians, as they account for over 22% of the fatalities across the country.
In Visakhapatnam it is seen that at many places the ‘Stop’ caution is painted after the zebra crossing. “What is the use of painting the stop caution after the zebra crossing,” said a senior officer from the Traffic Department.
At many places it is also seen that the zebra crossing is located between the two dividers that are built on either side of the road. Which suggest that a pedestrian has to climb one divider cross the road and then climb the divider on the other side. Normally, zebra crossings should facilitate pedestrians to walk from one side to the other, without any obstructions, said an officer from the RTA.
Another major issue in road engineering is the BRTS road, officers from both the departments feel that it is faultily built and due to which the accidents have increased. “There is no coordination between the medians and dividers,” said an ACP rank officer.
The signals are not synchronised and the long demand for FOBs and underpasses are gathering dust in the departments concerned. About 30% of the four-lane NH that passes through the city does not have service road and this stretch is in the industrial area, where traffic is very high and so is the accident rate, said the ACP.Source: The Hindu