With 16 deaths this December, the highest for a single month this year, the number of fatalities in road accidents in Chandigarh has risen to 98, the same as in 2018, with still three days to go for the year to end.
While 93 accidents accounted for these deaths in 2019, last year the number of fatal road mishaps stood at 97.
According to traffic police records, this is the highest number of fatalities in a month since January 2016, when 17 people had died in road accidents.
This year, October witnessed the second highest number of fatalities, at 13. Meanwhile, the city also recorded 207 non-fatal accidents with 277 people injured this year. Last year, 300 people were injured in 219 non-fatal accidents.
With a spurt in road fatalities towards the end of 2019, Chandigarh traffic police failed to bring down the number to 85, the target set for the year.
“Bad weather with dense fog was the primary reason for the high number of accidents this month,” said senior superintendent of police (SSP, traffic) Shashank Anand.
According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) regional director Surender Paul, last year, not a single day was reported with visibility dropping below 100 metre at their observatory in Sector 39. “However, this year, dense fog has been recorded almost daily for the past two weeks,” he said.
To keep the number of deaths from increasing any further, traffic police are planning strict vigil on the city’s roads ahead of New Year to check drunken driving, speeding and other violations that can prove fatal.
Two-wheeler riders most vulnerable
Like in the previous years, two-wheeler riders remained the most vulnerable. Around 45% of the recorded fatalities involved people on two-wheelers, while 31% of the victims were pedestrians and 10% were cyclists. In 2018, the ratio in these three categories stood at 41%, 35% and 11% respectively.
The increase in the number of deaths of two-wheeler riders happened despite traffic police issuing 20% more challans for not wearing helmets in 2019 as compared to 2018.
Harpreet Singh, a road safety activist, said: “It has been noticed that most of the people riding two-wheelers are those who have migrated to Chandigarh. The locals know how strictly traffic rules are imposed in the city and adhere to them, but the migrants take time to adapt. Most two-wheeler riders are also young and get a thrill from speeding and not wearing helmets. Police must find a way to reach out to them.”
Kamal Soi, member of the National Road Safety Council, Government of India, said: “Traffic police must do more selective enforcement of rules. Speeding caused 90% of the accidents last year, but nakas to check this violation were put up only during the day, even though more such accidents take place at night. Special vigil should also be maintained outside pubs and bars late at night to ensure people drive safely.”Source: Hindustan Times