Drive to Death

More than a 1000 were consumed in the last year

ROAD SAFETY

SAGAR AAQIB

In Kashmir road accidents are on a rise. A number of factors contribute to this; vehicle design, speed of operation, road design, road environment, driving skill, and drivers’ behaviour.
             At least 1070 persons have died in road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir the last year. According to the statistics provided by Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Police, 7059 accident cases were registered in 2011 including January 2012 alone, leaving 1070 dead and 10,700 persons injured. Jammu and Kashmir stands at second place, only behind Nagaland, in high accidental death prone areas, according to the statistics provided by National Crime Record Bureau. The death percentage in JK in road accidents is 66.5 per cent against the national percentage of 37.2. Earlier it were bullets and explosives killing Kashmiri people, now people lose their lives in road mishaps. In Kashmir valley the main causes accountable for most of the accidents can be easily identified.
Nearly one-third of all road accidents can be attributed to speeding. Most people would probably agree that travelling above 80 kmph is dangerous and will likely lead to a disastrous accident. The problem is that driving a little bit fast makes much difference.
             Consider the example of a pedestrian accident caused by a minor or moderate level of speeding. A pedestrian walks into a crosswalk with an approaching car that is travelling at 30mph. If the driver brakes when the pedestrian is 45 feet away, there would be enough space to stop without hitting the pedestrian. Now increase the vehicles speed only by 5mph, and the situation changes dramatically. At 35mps car will be travelling by 18mps when it hits the pedestrian. A pedestrian accident at 18kms can cause major injury or even wonderful death.
                                  Mostly speeding is done by inexperienced and irresponsible teenagers. These teenagers are mostly students who speed up their vehicles and some also do racing with their friends on busy roads, putting their own lives, and the lives of people around, to great danger. Apart from the motor cyclist, the reckless driving by the Sumo and Tipper drivers too is significantly responsible for the rising accident deaths in the Valley. All the hospitals are booked with Road Traffic Collision (RTC) cases mostly involving these rash drivers, repenting for the things they have done.    In Kashmir, we know people who lose their lives in accidents are mostly motorcyclists. Only in the Srinagar district there are more than 5 biker gangs who perform stunts on street roads, mostly without helmets. Recently government imposed ban on stunts but still we watch a bicker doing wheelies, burnouts and stoppies, most common bike stunts. The videos of these biker gangs are uploaded on internet. I have also seen people doing wheelie on tractor and stoppie in car. In the past few years doing stunts has increased in the valley, and so are the crimes involved in bicker gangs.  Many boys have lost their lives doing stunts while as some have become permanently disabled. Police have completely failed to tackle with these bikers. Stuntmen usually manage to escape when they are asked to stop by police. I recently saw a traffic cop chasing a biker, it seemed like he was chasing him on a cycle as the distance between them went on increasing. Police must take some serious efforts to tackle the situation.
    Given the rising road accident rate strict enforcement of laws is a must. We have plenty of laws. It is the enforcement that is lacking. We all know how easy it is to get a driving license in Kashmir. The only thing required is Rs. 500 for learners licence,  and 4500 for an LMV licence.
We have also seen cops take money from Sumo, 407, and bus drivers to allow them to overload their vehicles. Many accidents take place due to overloading. My friend recently suffered an accident when he was travelling in an overloaded 407 mini bus, almost hanging out of the vehicle door , he got hit by another vehicle.
              Poor condition of roads is one of the main causes of accidents in Kashmir Valley. The condition of roads in the valley is one of the major causes of accidents. In order to reduce road accidents we have to improve the condition of roads.
Feedback at sagaraaqib@yahoo.com

Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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