Accidents Take Heavy Toll

Road accidents continue to claim previous lives in Jammu and Kashmir. In the latest accident, 4 women and the driver of a tempo vehicle were killed in Ramban district. Also one motorcyclist lost life in Baramulla on Tuesday (December 15). While many precious lives are lost, many people suffer disability, some for lifetime.

The large number of deaths in road accidents every year should have raised an alarm bell among the policy-makers and the concerned government agencies responsible for ensuring the safety of people travelling by road. However, apart from customary statements of concern and expression of grief, nothing concrete is happening on ground to prevent the accidents from occurring.

The consequences of a tragedy often endure long after the mishap is over. Road accidents occur due to multiple causes such as over-speeding, use of Mobile phone, drunken driving including consumption of alcohol, drug or overloaded vehicle, vehicular condition, poor light condition, jumping red light, overtaking, neglect of civic bodies, weather condition, fault of driver, fault of pedestrian, driving on wrong side, defect in road condition, defect in condition of motor vehicle, automobile design, etc.

According to a study by the World Bank on road accidents, every death in India caused by a road accident leads to the depletion of nearly seven months’ income in the households of poor families and pushes the victims’ kin into a vicious cycle of poverty and debt. The low-income rural households, predictably, are hit the hardest.

There is a need to lay down engineering standards and complaints procedures that will help citizens hold the concerned to account. There is also need for education, civil society cooperation and professional policing besides muscular enforcement of law through tougher penalties for seat belts, drunken driving, smartphone use and other violations. Otherwise the carnage will only increase.

There is need for analyzing and micro-manage the accident-prone stretches. In the rural areas, most mishaps involve vehicles rolling down the mountainous stretches. Remote areas have the problem of less number and frequency of buses and other vehicles. All this may lead to overcrowding, increasing the chances of an accident.

Also, the plying of commercial vehicles should be monitored carefully. The training of drivers and the vehicle’s road-worthiness must be ensured to prevent accidents. Climate factors like landslides that block roads along with heavy rains and snow also result in roads getting damaged, leading to the loss of precious lives. Bad roads and the negligence of drivers result in death and disability which need to be ruled out by undertaking special initiatives.

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