The HT article 'Blood on roads' (April 10) lays the blame for road accidents squarely on non-functional traffic signals and shortage of traffic policemen. However, the blame lies with the citizens as well. Since many readers may blissfully continue breaking traffic rules, I feel compelled to write this to add perspective to the problems highlighted. Every reader should understand that if accidents are to reduce, each of us has a crucial role to play.
Undoubtedly, much needs to be done for road infrastructure and I give the concerned authorities a rough time with my frequent reminders. But are things any different at those junctions with working signals and visible zebra-crossings? Sadly, no. The moment the light turns red, cars zip past in a flash. The zebra-crossing is blocked by cars, forcing pedestrians to make their way through the vehicles. Shameless drivers on the wrong side, nosing through illegal cuts, taking U-turns before roundabouts, driving with mobiles - all are direct causes of accidents.
As a citizen volunteer who has spent over 300 hours on road duty, I can say that the sad reality is that most offenders are educated. How ironic it is then that these educated commuters, who could be catalysts in a system crying out for change, stoop to the lowest level of rude behaviour on roads! How then can we blame the authorities alone for accidents in our city?
The challenge for a traffic policeman is not just inhaling polluted air in extreme weather, but also to manage a breed of commuters who believe that rules are not for them. Things can improve only if each of us does our bit. Slow down on amber, stop at red light, behind the zebra crossing. Avoid lane changing, over-speeding, wrong-side driving. If every person reading this makes an unconditional commitment to strictly follow traffic rules and influence others, only then can we hope for a drop in blood on Gurgoan's roads.
(The writer is a soft skills trainer, activist, and resident of Suncity, Gurgaon.)