Even as a majority of districts of Punjab witnessed a rise in casualties due to road accidents, the deaths in Jalandhar city on this count have reduced by half over the past 18 months.
While 185 persons were killed in 177 road mishaps during 2010 in the city, 80 persons lost their life 79 mishaps on city roads in 2011. In the first half of this year, 44 deaths have been reported.
The Road Safety in 10 countries (RS 10) project of the World Health Organisation (WHO), launched in association with the city police to check drunken driving in February 2011, is being viewed as one of the factors leading to the dip in road mishaps.
In India, WHO had launched the project in Jalandhar and Hyderabad only. In Jalandhar, the programme aimed to check drunken driving and speeding, while in Hyderabad, the goal was to encourage the use of helmets
"The city police not only managed to 'scientifically' control drunken driving, but also attempted to educate the city residents on its impact on public health. The first phase of the WHO project has helped us upgrade skills of the police constables in traffic management," said police commissioner Gaurav Yadav, adding that the second phase of the project, to curb speeding, would be launched soon.
Apart from traffic management equipment, the WHO provided 10 breath alcohol analysers to the local police. "We have been organizing special night drives in the city. More than 2,022 people have been challaned for drunken driving over the past six months," Yadav said.
Arrive Safe, a Chandigarh-based
non-governmental organisation (NGO) engaged by the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), conducted several workshops last year to train stakeholders including cops, transporters, school teachers, industrialists and representatives of the NGOs.
"From 167 injured persons in 2010 to 81 in 2011, the number of non-fatal accidents also dipped. Over the past six months, 25 persons were injured in 20 accidents," said ACP Jasbir Singh Rai.