Seat-belts and helmets should be worn at all costs, says Ranjit Gadgil
He said that enforcing the helmet law for both driver and pillion and seat-belts for all occupants of a car not just the driver and aggressively preventing speeding and drunk driving will make an immediate difference.pune Updated: Jul 15, 2017 14:15 IST
City based Parisar is the convenor of the Road Safety Network, a coalition of civil society organisations advocating a ‘safe systems’ approach to road safety.
Sharing his views on the issue of road safety Ranjit Gadgil, Program Director at Parisar said, “ Improving road safety requires not only a multi-pronged approach but also requires strategically deciding the most critical actions that will help reduce maximum fatalities and grievous injuries. “
He said that enforcing the helmet law for both driver and pillion and seat-belts for all occupants of a car not just the driver and aggressively preventing speeding and drunk driving will make an immediate difference.
Gadgil emphasized that the impending amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act will help the enforcement agencies to do their job effectively. “Awareness campaigns to support strict enforcement is vital, so that people and politicians understand why these laws are being enforced and do not oppose them. Even with limited police personnel and resources, through strategic planning and capacity building, it is possible to have effective enforcement,” he added.
Speaking about the design of roads, Gadgil stated that street design that considers safety as an essential element is necessary to protect “vulnerable road users”, i.e. pedestrians and cyclists. “Junctions, where conflict between pedestrians and motorized traffic is inevitable, must be re-designed and managed to avoid accidents. Currently the focus is on moving traffic, often at the expense of safety. Proper signal phasing, well-marked zebras and removal of obstructions and encroachments at junctions must be made a priority,” he said.
Gadgil stressed that while road safety is on the national agenda, the Government has adopted a target, in line with the Brasilia Declaration, of reducing by half road traffic fatalities and injuries by 2020 and the Supreme Court appointed Committee on Road Safety has been issuing periodic instructions to States.
“There is no agency at the city-level responsible for road safety. A City Road Safety Committee comprising of key stakeholders – the Corporation, Police, PWD, politicians and civil society representatives is needed to develop an action plan and work in a coordinated and target-driven manner to reduce the loss of life, trauma of injury and the financial burden that road accidents inflict on families and society,” he added.