Focus on reducing road crash deaths: Parisar

ST CORRESPONDENT
Friday, 1 February 2019

Members of Parisar, an NGO, have asked Pune District Road Safety Committee (DRSC) to first focus on reduction of road crash deaths and injuries in the district.

Pune: Members of Parisar, an NGO, have asked Pune District Road Safety Committee (DRSC) to first focus on reduction of road crash deaths and injuries in the district. This comes in the backdrop of National Road Safety Week being celebrated from February 4 to 10. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Sadak Suraksha - Jeevan Raksha’.

The road safety committee is chaired by MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil and the membership constitutes Traffic DCPs and Mayors of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad along with the District Collector, Regional Transport Office (RTO), MPs and MLAs from various constituencies, members from the health sector and representatives from civil society.

In a meeting held recently, the local police officers were asked by DRSC to look into the issue on an urgent basis. “It was brought to the notice of the committee that the existing speed limit signs on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway are outdated, and new sign boards indicating the current speed limit in each zone needs to be installed. An Intelligent Monitoring System is being worked out to check speeding and lane cutting to reduce crashes on the Expressway,” said Sujit Patwardhan, Trustee, Parisar.

The Committee also discussed pedestrian safety and Shirole stressed on the need for safer crossings for citizens. DCP Satpute shared that  the city currently has only 10 pedestrian signals and that more such signals need to be installed at major crossings. She also assured that action would be taken against vehicles parked on footpaths.

Deputy RTO Sanjay Raut spoke about exploring possibilities of engaging CSR initiatives to spread awareness on college campuses for students on good riding practices. He also stressed on the importance of carrying out a ‘No Honking’ campaign but it was not clear how this rule could be implemented or enforced.

“Parisar also suggested that the Committee ought to create and implement a district road safety action plan with specific time bound targets for the reduction of road crash fatalities and injuries. However, sadly no cognisance of this was taken by the committee” Patwardhan added.

Helmet issue discussed extensively

  • In the meeting, MP Anil Shirole broached the controversial helmet issue, saying that it should not be forced upon citizens, and it should be a voluntary act.
  • The road safety committee Chairman, MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, countered this, saying that safety was not a matter of choice and if injuries and fatalities were going to be reduced by helmets, there was no question of making it voluntary. 
  • He also advised helmet compliance and road safety campaigns to be carried out in schools and colleges in rural areas.
  • BI Ajri, RTO, brought to the notice of the Committee that since helmet compliance was already a law, and the State does not have any exemption, the citizens were bound to comply.
  • The DCPs of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad quoted figures on the fatality rates caused by helmetless crashes and felt that with such alarming numbers, it was high time that strict enforcement was brought in.
  • NGO representative Sandeep Gaikwad apprised the Committee that as per WHO, the use of a helmet can decrease the chance of fatality by 40% and severe injury by 70% in the event of a crash. 

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