They are young, rash, and dangerous
Young, inexperienced drivers out to have fun are making the city’s roads increasingly unsafe. The traffic police say that when private vehicles are involved in roads accidents, the drivers are mostly youngsters between 20 and 35 years of age who have lost control of their car while speeding, driving rashly and after consuming alcohol.
Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said “speed and youth go hand-in-hand”. “If you look at the statistics of the number of people caught for rash driving, you will realise that most offenders fall in the bracket of 20 to 35 years,” he said.
Giving an example, Phansalkar said: “If you look at the number of accidents on JJ flyover, most involve young motorcyclists [two-wheelers are banned on the flyover].”
Among youngsters, a big problem is under-age driving, which has led to several fatal accidents, the most recent one being that of a senior citizen who got knocked down at Churchgate by a 17-year-old who had taken his father’s car out for a spin.
Drink driving is a common problem among the youth. Despite all the nakabandis across the city, the number of offenders caught each time remains high. In the past three years, though, as more offenders were caught for driving under the influence of alcohol, there have been fewer road accidents.
“The general feedback to the drink driving campaign has been that more people are now aware of the hazards of driving after alcohol consumption. Several diligent persons have refrained from drink driving, but there are some who will still do it,” said Phansalkar.
Every day, 300 to 400 new vehicles are added to the city roads. As the number of motorists increases, the number of traffic violations too has been rising. “Many drivers break traffic rules – they cut lanes, jump signals and drive rashly, making it risky for other motorists as well as pedestrians,” said PP Temkar, senior inspector of Vakola traffic police outpost.
Data with the traffic police shows that 3,53,983 people were caught last year for jumping signals, while 1,16,800 people were fined for cutting lanes and another 10,766 for speeding.
“People have to learn to be patient. Whatever they feel – thrill, rebelliousness or indifference – people have to abide by traffic regulations for their own safety,” said Temkar.
“As of March 31 last year, Mumbai has close to 20 lakh registered vehicles and the numbers increase each year. The available road length, however, remains the same. Congestion is the biggest problem and violation of traffic rules aggravates the situation,” said Mote Patil, senior inspector of the traffic prosecution branch.
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