More than 400 people have lost their lives in road accidents in Dehradun over the last three years, according to figures from the Dehradun police.
Even as the Dehradun police observe a ceremonious Road Safety Week, its own records paint a dismal picture of road safety in the district. The records show that 138 people died in road accidents in the district in 2013, 144 in 2014 and 136 in 2015, taking the total tally of lives lost in road tragedies to a whopping 418 deaths.
While many of the accidents could be attributed to human error, KK Gupta, head of department (civil engineering) at Dehradun-based Graphic Era University, noted “design faults” in the roads could also be held responsible for a number of deaths.
“In fact, lack of proper traffic signalling like signage, boards, lights and poor (visibility) at crossroads too, contribute to road accidents,” Gupta said.
Dhirendra Gunjyal, superintendent of police (traffic), said the police have identified as many as 29 ‘black spots’ — or road stretches that are most prone to accidents — in the district. These include nine ‘black spots’ in Rajpur area, three in Vasant Vihar, two in Premnagar and five in Doiwala, among others.
“We will soon be conducting a study (with the help of experts) to rectify technical loopholes at the high-risk spots so as to reduce the number of road accidents,” Gunjyal said, adding that the police were also trying to intensify steps like cancellation of driving licenses, permits and penalties on rash and drunken driving.
Aside from the ‘black spots’, a large number of roads are themselves in shambles — mostly after being dug up for laying sewer or water supply lines — and this has compounded the danger on city roads. Gunjyal said that, on an average, at least four to five road accidents are reported in the city every day due to dug up roads.
“All police station in-charges have been asked to take regular stock of dug up roads in their areas and issue warnings or (slap) penalties on the construction agencies concerned,” Gunjyal said.
Beginning January 1, police station in-charges have also been directed to maintain a daily record of all minor and major vehicle-to-man or vehicle-to-vehicle accidents in their respective areas.
However, experts have called for more comprehensive steps to check the spiralling situation.
Mahesh Bhandari, president of Doon Resident Welfare Front — an umbrella body of 60 resident welfare associations in Dehradun, said that charging high penalties on traffic rule violators, conducting regular technical surveys of risky roads and holding awareness drives in schools and colleges could be the key to saving precious lives behind the wheel.
“For instance, many lives can be saved simply by strictly ensuring wearing of helmets (for two-wheeler riders) and on-the-spot seizure of vehicles/cancellation of licenses of drunken drivers,” Bhandari said.