Bengal Police offering tea, water to drivers at night to prevent accidents

The drive will continue for the next few months.

kolkata Updated: Dec 19, 2017 13:27 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times
Bengal,Road Accident,Chief Minister
The state government has rolled out an intensive campaign to prevent road accidents in Bengal. (HT Photo)

If a police constable waves at a driver on a highway late in the night, chances are high that the law keeper is angling for a bribe. But for the past one week, drivers on highways passing through Bengal are having a pleasantly different experience at night.

Desperate to tackle road accidents, Bengal police have started stopping vehicles on highways and offer drivers water to splash on their face and hot tea to sip to combat drowsiness.

Read: Road accidents killed 17 people every hour in India in 2016, Delhi most unsafe

Starting on the intervening night between December 12 and 13, West Bengal traffic police department have launched the drive across the state. The programme will continue throughout winter.

“We are carrying out the exercise in late evenings and early mornings. We have noticed that many drivers tend to doze off at the wheel. The entire move is to lend a human touch to an awareness campaign,” said Vivek Sahay, additional director general, traffic.

Road accidents have become a menace in Bengal and chief minister Mamata Banerjee has personally led a campaign to promote safe driving. In 2016, as many as 6,544 persons were killed in fatal accidents in West Bengal, with the total number of accidents during the same year was 13,580. In 2015, the number of accident-related deaths in the state was slightly fewer at 6,234. The total number of accidents was 13,208.

Read: Deadly afternoons: 35% of road accidents in India reported between 3pm and 9pm

“We have watched that many accidents are taking place in the wee hours when drivers feel drowsy. It helps to ward off sleep if one splashes water on the face and takes a few steps on the road. Several sips of hot tea is even more helpful. The police patrol party is offering these to drivers”, said Alok Rajoria, superintendent of police of East Midnapore.

“It’s a good step. If they continue it will yield results. Drivers do get drowsy at late night. At this time of the year, visibility also becomes poor,” said Anil Sikaria, a transport operator.

On NH116 (that connects Kolaghat and Haldia in East Midnapore district), policemen stopped drivers of trucks and passenger cars between 11 pm and 5 am.

At Canning in South 24 Parganas district, cops are offering hot tea.

Tea and water are also being offered at other points on NH6 (connecting Kolkata and Mumbai) the route to Haldia and Digha said the East Midnapore police chief.

Read: Traffic police claim hefty fines made city roads safer

“We are also checking whether the drivers had taken liquor,” said Sahay.

“There are police patrols on several roads in the district. They can undertake these services,” said Sukhendu Hira, superintendent of Bankura district police.

To curb accidents, the state transport department has already directed that certificates of fitness to commercial vehicles will not be issued unless they are fitted with speed governors that prevent the speed from rising above a prescribed limit.

First Published: Dec 19, 2017 13:27 IST