41% drop in road crashes in Navi Mumbai in 2019Updated: Dec 05, 2019 19:55 IST
The number of accidents in the city dropped by 41% between January and October this year to 607, from 1,027 during the same period in 2018, data from the traffic department revealed. Traffic officers have attributed the drop in accidents and fatalities — to 205 in 2019 from 228 in 2018 — to the crackdown on bikers riding without helmets and their flagship awareness initiative, ‘Campus with helmets’.
According to the Navi Mumbai traffic police, bikers form the largest chunk of fatalities in road accidents. In 2018, of the 228 persons who lost their lives in road accidents in the January-October period, 107 were bikers, which came down to 98 bikers, among 205 fatalities, in 2019. However, the number of pedestrians who were killed in accidents rose to 71 in 2019, from 69 last year.
Traffic police officers said bikers are most vulnerable to crashes, thanks to bad lighting, uneven roads and speeding, and chances of fatalities increase if they ride without helmets. In order to combat this problem, the traffic police department adopted a two-pronged approach — cracking down on bikers riding without helmets and penalising them, and spreading awareness among riders.
The department has been issuing e-challans to anyone found riding without a helmet. The department also rolled out an initiative called ‘Campus with helmets’, inaugurated in March by Sanjay Kumar, Navi Mumbai police commissioner, in educational institutions and workplaces, including the police headquarters, City Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) and government offices, to develop a culture of riding two-wheelers wearing helmets.
“Since the launch of the campaign, we have covered 104 campuses and as many as 37,000 bikers coming to work or to attend lectures at these campuses wear helmets. If they are not wearing a helmet, they are denied entry and issued a challan,” said Sunil Lokhande, deputy commissioner of police, traffic.
The traffic police aim to cover 200 more campuses in the next few months.
A traffic police officer said many of the bikers are in the age group of 25 to 35 years and are most often the breadwinners of their families. “Their death leads to a crisis in their families, leaving with them no source of income,” he said.
Taking this into consideration, the traffic police have also been appealing to bikers to take safety precautions.
“We have handed over helmets to women riders on International Women’s Day in March and also keep counselling bikers and appeal to them to not risk their lives. Our efforts appear to be working,” said Arun Patil, assistant commissioner of police, traffic.
India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration deadline of 2020 to reduce road fatalities by 50%. The Motor Vehicles (MV) Act was amended this year to increase the penalty for traffic violations, in order to reduce accidents.