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Tame the devils on roads?

Traffic experts say problems like road rage spring from lack of training of drivers and regulation on roads.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 19:56 IST

Every year, the Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) gives refresher courses to 50,000 drivers. An overwhelming majority of these drivers have very little idea of traffic rules and symbols, say trainers.

As many as half of these drop out of school in fifth standard and can just about read Hindi, let alone the road signs in English that gaze at them in the roads of Delhi. In 2005, on an average 5 persons were killed and 42 injured everyday on Del- hi's roads. Nearly 90 per cent of those killed were pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders.

And in a majority of these cases, the culprits were goods vehicles and buses. Plans to construct foot overbridges on most of the killer stretches —- used by these commercial vehicles —- have remained on the drawing board.

Traffic experts say problems like road rage are just part of the problem, and spring from lack of training of drivers, infrastructure and regulation on our roads. "Most drivers, particularly commercial drivers get driving licenses without any training.

We conduct refresher courses for these drivers and are amazed at the lack of knowledge about road etiquette even amongst experienced drivers," says IDTR's director RK Duggal. In its refresher courses, IDTR also has modules to inspire drivers to alter their psychology on roads, and reduce incidents of road rage.

Indian Institute of Technology's Dinesh Mohan blames anti-pedestrian and pro-private car bias in planning for much of the ills.

Unlike most other metros in the country, Delhi's roads have increasingly become very unfriendly for pedestrians and cyclists. A campaign for safer roads needs to concentrate on pedestrian safety by constructing escalator fitted foot overbridges, clearing pathways of encroachments and making cycle tracks.

DCP (Traffic) PC Hota feels that once the Metro is complete, it will solve much of Delhi's traffic problems —- as two wheeler riders which form the bulk of the vehicular population are likely to switch to the Metro. But traffic police have been taking up the matter of improving road infrastructure, and constructing pedestrian friendly roads with the civic agencies.