Jammu and Kashmir has a dubious distinction for being amongst places where accidents continue to take a heavy toll on life. As statistics bare it out, huge number of precious lives are lost every year and nothing much is done to prevent them.
It should have raised an alarm bell among the policy-makers and the concerned official agencies responsible for ensuring the safety of people travelling by road. However, apart from customary statements of concern and expression of grief, nothing concrete happens on the ground to prevent the mishaps from occurring which not only directly affect the concerned family members, but they also have an adverse impact on the national economy.
As per 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.
The consequences of a tragedy often endure long after the road accident is over. There are multiple reasons such as over-speeding, use of mobile phone, 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.
Laying down engineering standards and complaints procedures that will help citizens hold the concerned to account is one among the ways out to prevent the loss. Awareness is another aspect and there is also need for education, civil society cooperation and professional policing to prevent to the accidents.
Apart from them, micro-management of the accident-prone stretches is a key area to look at. As J&K is a mountainous area, most mishaps involve vehicles rolling down the cliff. Some remote areas have the problem of less number and frequency of public transport. All this may lead to overcrowding, increasing the chances of an accident. In such a scenario increasing the frequency may help but strict enforcement of laws by concerned cannot be overlooked. There are other factors which need to be looked into and efforts need to be done to find answers within scientific outlook.