Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that Pune is sitting on a volcano of vehicle population and unless proper measures are adopted to find alternative transport methods, this volcano could explode. India has obviously ignored its transport sector over the past few decades very badly and has just allowed it to grow naturally without any planning or methods being adopted to cultivate the sector. As a result, uncontrolled growth of vehicles, terrible rise in fatal accidents and overall mess in the sector of public transportation is experienced.
In Maharashtra itself, in the last few days, there has been a series of fatal accidents in which dozens of innocent people have lost their lives. On Pune-Nashik state highway late night on Sunday a state transport bus collided with a parked mini-truck which the bus driver could not see because it was late at night and raining. Nine people died in this accident.
Two days earlier 9 people died in one mishap as they were travelling from Dombivli to Bhavnagar again because of their vehicle colliding with some other jeep at breakneck speed. Just a couple of days earlier two famous television actors died in a car crash on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway as they were driving towards Gujarat.
On Mumbai-Pune Expressway we see fatal accidents happening endlessly in which almost every week many lives are lost.
According to the data released by the Union Ministry of Surface Transport over 1,50,000 people die in India every year in road accidents. The number is too high for a country like ours with all the resources and technology available to avoid many if not most of these deaths happening every year.
Firstly, road safety and traffic-related training have to be made mandatory in schools and colleges. Indian education gives too much stress on many subjects of lesser importance compared to road safety or any other safety.
Secondly, the licensing methods for drivers have to be improved. In the past few years, the average speed at which vehicles travel on India’s highways has seen a rise of over 20%. But the training of drivers and fitness of vehicles has not undergone any changes.
Drivers must not be given licences unless they undergo special tests that prove their control over heavy vehicles or ability to handle smaller vehicles at high speeds. Currently, licences are issued without any test of high-speed driving.
And thirdly, education about the fitness of vehicles driven on highways has to be much higher compared to what it is now. Most accidents happen because of over-speeding but many happen also because of poor upkeep of vehicles.
The general awareness about road safety and especially highway road safety is very poor in India.
Under Nitin Gadkari, the Union Surface Transport Ministry has undertaken some initiative to change that situation but a lot more needs to be done or else we will continue to lose lives on our highways.
UPDATING ROAD SAFETY
In the past few years, the average speed at which vehicles travel on India’s highways has seen a rise of over 20 pc. But the training of drivers and fitness of vehicles has not undergone any changes. Drivers must not be given licences unless they undergo special tests that prove their control over heavy vehicles or ability to handle smaller vehicles at high speeds. Currently, licences are issued without any test of high-speed driving.
- Maintain your vehicle tyres properly
- Avoid late night highway travel
- Do not over-speed especially in the rainy season
- Avoid sudden braking on slippery roads
- Wear safety belts & drive safe.
ROAD ACCIDENT TIMELINE
Aug 28: Eight passengers of a state transport bus were killed and 10 injured when it rammed into a tempo. The bus was proceeding from Trimbakeshwar in Nashik to Pune when it rammed into the stationary tempo near Narayangaon around 1.30 a.m
Aug 28: Nine persons were killed and over 15 injured in an accident involving four vehicles at Babhulgaon-Shivar near Yeola town in Nashik district.
Aug 28: As many as five people were injured after a state transport bus hit three vehicles on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
Aug 27: Ten members of an extended family, including nine from Dombivli, and their driver, were killed when the MUV they were traveling in rammed into a truck carrying LPG cylinders near Dhandhuka in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad district
Aug 19: Three people were killed today after a car they were traveling in collided with a truck on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway. The accident took place near Palghar in Maharashtra.
- ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR