The road safety week organised by the local police in Patiala seemed to be a mere formality as it failed to serve the purpose of spreading awareness among residents.
During the week-long exercise, the police focused mostly on school and college students, leaving out the general public. Students were told about traffic rules and deployed on roads to give them a practical exposure. Besides this, painting competitions were also organised for them.
The government had initiated the practice of observing a road safety week; about 27 years ago, keeping in view the increase in the number of fatal road accidents.
However over the past few years, the traffic police have been repeating the same exercises and delivering lectures at schools and colleges.
On the concluding day of the week, the police however conducted an eye check-up camp for the truck drivers at Patiala. A seminar on road safety was also organised for them.
An eye specialist from Rajindra Hospital, who conducted eye check camp for the truck union, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the police had availed his services only on the last day. So he did not have a collective data for the entire week.
Furthermore the police did not make any efforts to know the response of citizens regarding the road safety week. Traffic in-charge of Patiala city, Hardeep Singh Badungar, said that a report will be prepared regarding the events of the road safety week and will be sent to senior officials. He added that during the medical test about 20 percent of the drivers were found to be having weak eyesight, but he failed to find out the exact figure.
Superintendent of police (SP), Daljeet Singh Rana, passed on the buck to DSP traffic and said that the latter had organised the events for the week.
DSP traffic, Chand Singh, said that during the road safety week they had directed the cops deployed on the roads to give the commuters detailed guidelines regarding the traffic rules and regulations. He added that they targeted college and school students because they are the best source to spread the message to the society.
Singh said that to get the responses, the police had organised radio programmers for residents to come up with their queries, but no other source of two way communication was opted to get the reviews.
What could be added to make it more impactful?
Videos of major road accidents can be put on the display during this road safety week to make people aware what could be happened with a minor mistake.
Families who had lost their kin in road accidents could bring on the stage to share their personal experiences.
Post road safety week analysis could be done to take the resident’s response.