The National Crime Records Bureau statistics for 2017 have ranked the city second in terms of road accident deaths due to negligence and first in causing grievous hurt by rash and negligent driving.
While Delhi stood first with 1,451 victims in 1,317 accidents caused due to negligence, Chennai was in second place with 1,404 victims in 1,312 road accidents. Of these, 176 were hit-and-run cases and the vehicles that caused the accidents could not be traced.
The city also ranked second in rash driving on a public way, with 6,204 cases and 7,420 victims . Of these, 4,295 persons sustained grievous injuries in 3,578 cases, and this is the highest among cities. Besides, 2,609 persons also got hurt in 2,163 incidents of reckless driving.
Experts attribute rash and negligent driving due to wide roads and stressed that safe design of streets is very important to prevent accidents. “The wide arterial roads encourage speeding of motorists and make it extremely difficult for the vulnerable users such as pedestrians and cyclists to cross the roads, resulting in more accidents,” said Aswathy Dilip, senior programme manager, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).
She said that drivers speeding on streets within neighbourhoods while using them as short cuts was also a cause of accidents. “Many cities worldwide use traffic calming measures to reduce speed in neighbourhoods. Cities such as Barcelona are blocking one end of local streets to motor vehicles while allowing access for pedestrians and cyclists,” she said.
A senior police officer said that to curb rash driving, the police will be empowering Special Sub-Inspectors to register cases and they will be provided e-challan machines. “Till date only the Reserve Sub-Inspectors were allowed to register cases,” said a senior police officer.
Apart from this, the police are also conducting regular checks on roads that have been identified as accident-prone. “Some stretches like the CTH Road in Ambattur limits have been identified as accident-prone. So we place barricades to reduce the speed and also nab offenders using speed guns,” the officer added.
Officials from the Transport Department pointed out that they were making the licensing system stricter to ensure only deserving candidates got a licence. “We will be introducing simulator-based testing system for issuing driving licences. The applicants will be tested in a real-time environment,” said an official.
Piyush Tewari, founder and CEO, SaveLIFE, pointed out that the 2017 data released by NCRB was outdated. According to the 2018 data released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the State has demonstrated close to a 30% drop in deaths, and has a model of road safety that other States should emulate.
“As for the State and city faring high in statistics, it is important to appreciate that Tamil Nadu is the only State that has a comprehensive Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS), which ensures that no incident is lost in paperwork,” he said.
Date: November 26, 2019