There are more cars on Mumbai’s streets than the entire population of most European countries. Pollution in the city is at its peak and the citizens’ health has gone for a toss. The number of lung and heart-related diseases also seems to be on a rise.
On the other hand, bad roads full of potholes are leading to several mishaps and accidents, especially during the monsoon. Recent road accidents, mostly a result of rash or drink driving are only adding to the woes of motorists and pedestrians.
The government needs to amend the Motor Vehicles Act in such a way so that it can monitor vehicular traffic more efficiently, and hence control road accidents.
Another solution could be encouraging people to car pool through public advertisements and citizen campaigns. This will help in keeping both, the traffic and pollution levels under check.
In order to prevent one family from owning multiple vehicles, the government needs to improve the public transport system, as is the case in most world cities.
The authorities should engage citizens through quirky road safety and anti-pollution drives. For example, the government should give carbon-credit coupons to people who use public transport frequently. These coupons could be used to claim some grocery, milk, medicines or tax incentives. Such drives will encourage more people to travel by trains and buses. — SN Kabra
Ban reckless drivers, impound their licenses
In one way, the growing number of cars in the city is a sign of prosperity. But this also means that both the government and citizens need to be more responsible. They need to follow traffic rules and respect all vehicular laws.
The recent road accidents show that laws against rash and drink driving should be implemented stringently. Those who are found guilty should be severely punished through fast-track courts. Apart from impounding the vehicles involved in such accidents, the license of such drivers should also be suspended for a period of at least ten years.
Every one knows how easy it is to get a driving license. Most driving schools guarantee to teach driving in less than a month’s time. The RTO should ensure that licenses are issued only after putting learners’ through a thorough test.
Moreover, the state government should restrict the number of heavy vehicles, except public transport during peak hours.
The traffic police should ensure that all vehicles maintain lane discipline. Often, this is the main cause for most accidents, especially on the highways. — Vanita Shenoy
Follow China, roll out limited cars every year
To ease traffic jams, cut pollution and control accidents, the municipal government in the Chinese city of Guangzhou has limited the number of new cars on its streets.
The government allows only 1.2 lakh new car owners to register their vehicles over a one-year trial period. This means that only 10,000 cars a month are allowed to ply on the streets. I think it’s time that Mumbai supposedly on its way to becoming Shanghai should perhaps take a break and evaluate how safe Mumbaiites feel on the roads.
It is difficult to impose such blanket policies, but sometimes they are necessary to set the house in order. — Bhagwan Das
Rich, rash drivers think they own the road
Casualties due to rash driving are certainly on a rise. Every other day, we read newspaper reports about road accidents because of potholes, bad roads, or how innocent pedestrians and motorists become victims of reckless drivers.
Rich and arrogant drivers think that they are above the law and the roads are their personal property.
To discipline such drivers and save innocent lives, the government should immediately amend rules and regulations pertaining to driving. Reckless drivers or those caught driving under the influence of alcohol should be arrested and punished severely. Their vehicles and licenses should be confiscated.
Such drivers should be banned from driving for the rest of their life. Strict enforcement of these measures will go a long way in maintaining discipline on city roads.- Ketan Meher
Display speed limits big, bold and clearly
The traffic police is doing its best to catch unruly drivers who speed in ‘high spirits’, but still manage to escape the clutches of the law.
To prevent road accidents, it is necessary to prominently display speed limits on major roads, as is the norm in the US and most Western countries.
Mobile police squads armed with speed detectors should constantly patrol and look out for vehicles that exceed the prescribed speed limit.
The driver of a school bus who recently got injured along with 13 children when a BEST bus slammed into the school bus, said that school buses are often obstructed by too many cars, autos, bikes and heavy vehicles leading to accidents. It’s a pity to see school-going children so unsafe. — V Subramanyan