Forty people have died on the Capital's roads in the first two months of this year in late-night accidents. As many as 900 lives were lost in a similar fashion in 2011.
But drivers continue to flirt with danger. According to the police, around 25-30% of the road accidents in the city take place between 11pm and 7am —when traffic police are off the roads.
“With the existing strength, we cannot introduce night vigil at the cost of management during the day, when the traffic is at its peak,” said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
The city has 5,771 traffic cops; 400 of them were recruited a little more than two months ago in December 2011. Staff crunch is not the only problem. The Delhi Police do not have the interceptors that can check speeding vehicles in the night. Speeding is the single biggest cause of accidents during late hours.Traffic lights are on the blink and many of the roads signal free — almost a green light for speed demons.
“We cannot arrest the problem immediately unless the strength of the traffic police is increased,” police chief BK Gupta said, adding technology could provide a lasting solution.
Reflective tapes on all sides of the vehicles should be mandatory, said KK Kapila, chairman of Geneva-based International Road Federation. “It'll immediately bring down road accidents during the night.” The tapes are designed to glow in the night.