We are lawless people when on roads
WE DELIBERATELY and willfully break traffic rules in force and expose others and ourselves to accidents, deaths and injuries. We insist on having the right of way when it is someone else?s. We park our vehicles wherever we like, blocking rest of the traffic and causing immense inconvenience to others. We turn unruly and abusive at the slightest pretext.india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 01:21 IST
WE DELIBERATELY and willfully break traffic rules in force and expose others and ourselves to accidents, deaths and injuries. We insist on having the right of way when it is someone else’s. We park our vehicles wherever we like, blocking rest of the traffic and causing immense inconvenience to others. We turn unruly and abusive at the slightest pretext.
We drive recklessly and leave our safety to the driving skills of others. We take the law in our own hands and punish the perceived guilty party if unfortunately an accident takes place in our presence. Aren’t these symptoms of lawlessness?
On May 31, an old man was crushed to death by a speeding truck. The mob that collected there set fire to the truck.
On May 30, a girl was run over by a truck. The mob went berserk and set fire to the truck. The driver abandoned the truck and made good his escape or he would have been lynched. These are a few of the hundreds of accidents that take place across India every day.
Seventy-five per cent accidents are preventable and the losses can be dramatically cut down if the drivers refrain from rash and negligent driving and make allowance for the unpredictability of the machines and the mistakes that other drivers are liable to commit.
Overtime, we have evolved our own rules. Irrespective of the fact whose mistake causes the accident; the driver of the bigger of the two vehicles involved in any accident gets named as the guilty party in the police first information report.
While at times it may be true, it is not always the position. The drivers of smaller vehicles also tend to drive rashly secure in the belief that they don’t need much road space and can slip through even if a small opening is available.
Those who disregard the rules of safety come to grief sooner than later.
However, it hardly needs to be reiterated that heavy trucks, tractor trolleys, overloaded pick-ups, rickety buses, light vans, tempos and two- and three-wheelers are more prone to accidents than the modern cars.
Two-wheeler drivers are particularly vulnerable. Amongst the common ills that plague the two-wheeler riders the main ones are overloading, over-speeding, overconfidence and driving without wearing the mandatory helmets. Though meant for one or a maximum of two, most two-wheeler drivers are seen carrying more than two passengers. Sometimes the number is as large as 6.
Often, the riders include the old, the sick, the infirm and the toddlers and sometimes in addition one or all holding one or more pieces of luggage. This is not all. Most two-wheeler riders drive around without the mandatory helmets, willfully and recklessly flout the lane rule, think nothing of using mobiles and overtake both from the right and the left without warning the drivers of the vehicles moving in front or coming from behind. About the kind of loads carried, less said the better.
Carrying of metal and wooden doorframes, iron rods used in construction, huge glass sheets, bundles of tube lights, loose boxes of assorted goods, tables, chairs, painting stands, televisions, washing machines, loosely-tied textiles, bicycles, heavy machines like refrigerators and washing machines, pipes and other hazardous material is common.
What’s worse, most road uses ignore the traffic signals. Teenagers are a law unto themselves. A large number of them never consider the need for appearing for the driving licence tests and obtaining licences before hitting the roads. Most of them have not learnt the etiquettes of driving and respect for the traffic signals. Some parents do not feel the need for applying for driving licences for their wards.
The paucity of traffic policemen in almost every city and town has contributed to the aggravation of the problem. They are far too few to be effective. It is well nigh impossible for the same man to man the traffic crossing and at the same time check traffic violations.
The frequency of accidents and extent of losses can be dramatically cut down by strict observance of the traffic rules by all road users including the pedestrians. The enforcement should improve. The civic administration must ensure that the roads and traffic signals are in good shape. Safe driving entails that the drivers show consideration for fellow road users.
Shall we be more careful next time when we are on the road?
First Published: Jun 09, 2006 01:21 IST