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300 Indians die on the road every day, here’s a feasible plan to stop the slaughter

by Subhash C Nagpal.

The number of road accident deaths is steadily increasing in India. More than 300 people die in road accidents daily, and 4-5 times that number suffer serious injuries including lifelong disabilities. Developed nations, on the other hand, have succeeded in cutting their number of road fatalities drastically.
There may be no quick-fix panacea for road deaths, but there are many simple, doable steps India can adopt to quickly bring under control the horrendous catastrophes witnessed on the country’s roads every day. Union and state governments can earmark defined, smaller areas in some of their cities as Zones of Excellence (ZoE) in matters of road safety. Preference can be given to geographic areas with poor road safety record. All expressways and some of the vulnerable highways could be earmarked as ZoE.
Concerted efforts and resources need to be garnered, not only to prevent road accidents and traffic violations in these zones, but to also create an exemplary safe-road environment there. Enforce round the clock checks, more particularly at accident-prone hours in the earmarked ZoE.
All available tech devices should be deployed, and private IT agencies of repute should be roped in. Strict checks and heavy spot fines, including detaining of vehicles for longer hours, should be carried out in a professional, uncompromised manner. Prosecutions are cumbersome, and should be avoided in most cases except for major offences.
Regular road safety awareness and education programmes should be conducted in residential areas, over the weekends, with the active assistance of RWAs/local bodies/ NGOs. The additional manpower required could be met by deploying personnel of the Home Guards (or similar institutions), and by recruiting from amongst retired traffic police, paramilitary personnel, and unemployed literate youth (thus also generating more meaningful job opportunities).
Roads in the ZoE should be properly lane-marked, and zebra-marked. Lanes must be defined by paint-writing on the road surface. All other road markings, signages should be carried out as per established norms. Most markings and signage should, in addition to the pictorial image, define the instructions in words for easy understanding and education of road users.
Apart of the additional manpower engaged could be deployed near schools, hospitals, other sensitive areas, primarily to help pedestrians cross roads, educate them, as well as counsel those violating zebra markings. Indeed, more pedestrian crossings ought to be created where needed. On such crossing points, and traffic red light stoppages, leaflets relating to road safety dos and don’ts can be distributed.
Corrective action on the already identified spots of frequent accidents in such zones should be completed on top priority, and in a professional manner. Footpaths should be proactively and regularly repaired, rejuvenated, made more convenient, and kept free of obstructions. Ways to provide cyclists a safer lane should be found.
A dedicated corridor for emergency vehicles must be maintained in each ZoE. Adequately equipped ambulance should be stationed at crucial sectors in the ZoE. For the purpose private sector hospitals, individually or collectively, can be taken on board as part of their corporate social responsibility. Cranes be stationed catering to certain roads and flyovers to speedily remove broken-down vehicles. This is particularly crucial in fog conditions.
Some convenient helpline, or the police helpline, should be available for all emergency information and complaints relating to road safety issues. For the highways helpline 1033 seems to be operational. These call lines need to be widely popularised by the authorities concerned.
Introduce regular road safety curriculum in schools, higher education institutes, and encourage workshops and project writing on the subject: A very large number of road accidents involve the younger generation. Traffic police and other personnel involved should be sensitised and imparted communication skills in how to deal respectfully but firmly with offenders. Regular appeals to the general public for cooperation in implementing the Action Plan, and day to day information and advisories may be provided through all media tools, including social media.
Mohammed Imran, chairman of Safe Road Foundation, says chartered buses within and from the zone should be facilitated to ease traffic pressure from private cars. These buses can be of economy and business categories, depending on their facilities.
The plan chalked out here is a simple and practical one, which will usher in a welcome culture of traffic discipline, smooth aesthetic flow in lanes, and responsible, proud citizen behaviour in the designated zones. This will soon transcend beyond the limited area of a zone.

(Originally published in Times of India)

The writer is Member, National Road Safety Council, ministry of Road Transport and Highways

How to get a Driving License

Driving licence “THE ALL INDIA PERMIT” is a document which allows the licence holder to drive a vehicle anywhere in the country. In India driving licence are issued by individual state via their “Regional transport Authorities / Office (RTA/RTO).
In India for obtaining a licence to drive motorcycle with an engine capacity of 55cc or less , the minimum age is 16 and one must be 18 or older to drive any other type of vehicle. Licence can be issued for any of these categories like heavy and light vehicles , with or without gear etc.
Application for licence should be made in FORM4 accompanied by an effective learners licence to drive a vehicle, appropriate fees and medical certificate.Then the applicant should appear for a driving test with the motor vehicle inspector.If the applicant fails then he may re-appear for the test after a period of seven days . Then an interview of road signs and a few general question regarding road safety is made. If the applicant passes all this the driving licence will be delivered to him or her by the Indian Postal Service and If he fails he needs to Re- appear for the test.
A person may apply for “Transport Vehicle licence” which is for the vehicle carrying goods of dangerous and hazardous nature which Is valid for 3 years and the holder needs to apply for renewal after this period . The other type of licence a person apply for is a “Non-Transport Vehicle” this licence is for car, scooter and for all the light vehicles , this is valid for 20 years or until the date on which a person attains the age of fifty, whichever is early . The person needs to renew his licence after this period.
“International Driving Permit” which allows a person to drive a vehicle other than India, it is valid for a period of not more than 1 year from the day of issue or till the validity of the driving licence,whichever is early. Indian driving licence is valid in all the countries for first 6 months of stay after 6 months a person needs to apply for a driving licence in whichever country he is except USA,UK,Australia,South Africa, Singapore,New Zealand and all the European countries other than these country a person needs to apply for a driving licence of that country.
A person who is a tourist in India is able to drive, if he has a valid driving licence of his country and an International Driving Permit, A person should have both the documents. IDP’S are valid for 12 months , they are not meant to be a replacement for Indian Driving Licence. If a person is not a tourist but returning to India for resettlement then he should apply for a Driving Licence and get a valid Indian Driving Licence to drive in India.

by Shivangi Dhaka

Story of Driving License

I am sharing this out of my personal experience, in the year 2014 I accompanied a dear friend of mine to Ghazhiabad Tahsil office for issuance of learners driving license. When we reached there suddenly many self claimed service providers approached us and started offering help. Everybody was coating a different price tag for a learners license and later on for a permanent driving license.

As an inquisitive mind I inquired from them why the variance between the price was so much between the offering service providers? One of them started boasting that he had a direct connection with the license issuing authority there and he would insure us of first the learners license and later a permanent license without standing in the queue and without waiting period and more importantly without going through any required driving test as prescribed under the law. Initially, we believed that it was a fake promise but immediately he gave us example with an instance of a client who was ready and willing to offer him occasion for service.

We were really surprised at this because, the officer who was supposed under the law to see that everything was in order before a person can be issued a license, at least this much that he knew properly to handle a motor vehicle and that too on a public street did not even bother to see him personally and that fellow walked with a driving license and lord knows which part of the country he must be driving because under the Central Rules it is valid for all over the country. We came out and after a while we went there and approached the same gentle man and it was repeated in our situation as well. Though we were very happy that the whole burdensome exercise was over in few minutes for little money but that impression and guilt still quenches me whenever I recall that situation.

Shishir Pinaki

(Author is a Supreme Court Lawyer)

Children need a hand in traffic

Road Traffic Injuries, The Reality and one must agree to it…Don’t wait until you see a problem before you start taking action to protect kids. There are simple things you can do every day to make sure kids are safe and then teach others. Make sure every adult who cares about kids has the information they need to be confident about making a commitment to safety.

We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of child injury, like road traffic injuries, is a step toward this goal.

According to survey, every hour nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes. More children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury. what all can we do to make our children safe from such injuries? The answer to this question is by teaching them road safety which is very important for them to learn as well as for us to know.

Do you know what the advantages of road safety are? I will tell you road safety is one of the major step to secure our child’s life and an important part of our life. Road safety helps in reducing the number of road deaths and injuries.

Pedestrian Safety – as a driver you have responsibility

AS A DRIVER YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITY

  • Pedestrians are not just ‘traffic’ — they are people. They are unpredictable, and the younger they are the faster they are likely to move or change direction. Those with children, the elderly, the blind and the disabled all need your care.
  • As a driver  you have the legal and moral responsibility to take proper care to avoid accidents with pedestrians at all times and places — even if the pedestrian is jaywalking. Always try to give way to a pedestrian on the roadway.
  • Please drive carefully and slowly when pedestrians are about particularly in crowded streets, or when you see a bus stop, or near a stall. Look out for pedestrians entering the road suddenly, for example from behind parked or stopped vehicles.
  • When entering or emerging from a place facing the road, wherever possible use proper driveways and try to avoid reversing. Always give way to pedestrians.
  • As a driver you always should obey all speed and road rules and to pay particular care around restricted speed zones, and to be vigilant with pedestrians.

AS A PEDESTRIAN YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITY

AS A PEDESTRIAN YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITY

  • Always show due care and consideration for others.
  • Use footpath where available and avoid being next to the curb with your back to the traffic.
  • If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light
  • Help other road users to see you. Use reflective material at night and if reflective material is not available at least wear light/bright coloured cloths
  • Do not let your young children go out on the road. When walking with you keep them other side of traffic and holding hands.
  • When walking together should use a pavement if available; if one is not, you should keep to the left and single line.
  • Pedestrians are not allowed on the Highways and expressways. Please do not walk on Highways or Expressway unless it is an emergency.
  • Find a safe place to cross and where there is space to reach the pavement on the other side.

सड़क सुरक्षा

सड़क सुरक्षा

किसी चौराहे पर लाल बत्ती को धता बताकर रोड पार कर जाना, गलत तरीके से ओवरटेकिंग, बेवजह हार्न बजाना, निर्धारित लेन में न चलना और तेज गति से गाड़ी चलाकर ट्रैफिक कानूनों की अवहेलना आज के नवधनाढय युवकों का प्रमुख शगल बन गया है। विकास के साथसाथ जिस सड़क संस्कृति की जरूरत होती है वह हमारे देश में अभी तक नहीं बन पाई है।

How to escape from burning car

How to escape from car fire

Many car blaze deaths are happening in the country, particularly in recent years.  Do not think that your car will not catch fire because it is new or you do not have CNG fitted in your car. Car fire does not take place because of CNG, LPG or if car is too old, it generally happens due to heat, leakage, short circuit in electronic system.

Be prepared to fight the fire: Get your car regularly checked from an authorised or trusted garage. Keep an emergency kit particularly during long journeys: fire extinguisher, first aid, drinking water, a torch, tow rope, spare tyre, mobile phone etc. a knife (to cut the seatbelt in case the seat belt is stuck) and a small hammer or some other small tool such as a spanner or wheel nut brace can be used to smash the windows of a car in case of a fire. Always keep them within the reach.

Try a fire drill off road:

What would you do in case of fire?

Things you should not do when driving in the rain

Things you should not do when driving in the rain

During heavy rain driving can be a risky, scary thing, and harder in the night time. It is difficult to see, and other car’s high beam lights make it worse, causing near  blindness: Some people may feel nervous. When you start your journey in the rain, before starting your vehicle make sure that your shoes sole are clean and dry as they are likely to slip off the pedals. Use all main control –steering, clutch, brake and accelerator gently. Check headlights, tail lights, brake lights and indicators are working properly.

The ground rule is if you cannot see, don’t drive. Bikers please do not ride unless it is an emergency. In case you have to ride, go slow, keep your bike in vertical position, do not over take, avoid changing lane and turning, use both breaks smoothly, use proper clean glass helmet.

Watch out for Cycle, Motorcycles or even other dark-colour cars that can be camouflaged amongst glistening raindrops on side windows and mirrors.

How to help road accident victims

How to help road accident victims

  1. Put on emergency light in your vehicle and stop on a safe place. This will alert other drivers.
  2. Call the police and/or Ambulance
  3. Do not touch, turn the victims if you are not trained in first aid.
  4. Blood loss is bad; stop any bleeding as soon as possible but keep the wounds sanitary as much as possible. if sterile dressings are not immediately available, use clean cloths but sanitary napkins would be best option.