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If I was Transport Commissioner

with 3 comments


Enough & more has been written about traffic discipline. People don’t follow traffic rules, jump signals, talk on mobile phone while driving, drink & drive, honk at traffic signals and unnecessary and drive on wrong side as if it’s birthright. Also, we have scant respect for the men trying to implement them. Supreme Court passes strictures to wear seat belt and helmet – even this meets with resistance. We shrug this off as We are Like that Only!! 

The recent death of thespian Kota Srinivasa Rao’s son in an accident on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) is another reflection of our scant respect of rules even when  safety is in question. The government has boards displaying No Entry for 2/3 wheelers & trucks on ORR. But the thespian’s son was apparently driving a sports bike without helmet and ended in a crash. Another thespian Babu Mohan who also lost his son to a road accident six years was heard appealing again on TV to use helmets while driving motorcycles. Check these photos taken at Narsingi Junction on ORR: 

No Entry for Vehicles

 

banned vehicle movement

Banned truck

 

   

Traffic Dept are always at their wit’s end to find solutions in sorting this mess. From installing cameras at important traffic junctions, camps to instill discipline, talk shows on radio & TV requesting people to follow traffic rules and many other similar programs. All these efforts don’t cut any ice with traffic offenders and we don’t appreciate their efforts. 

DISTURBING STATISTICS: 

These figures are stark reality of impact of the above disregard. AP had one of the highest traffic fatality rates in India with 43,108 people losing their lives in 1.35 lakh accidents in the last three years. 

 

On an average 40 people died every day in road accidents on the State highways and district roads during the last three-year period, but the first three-month figures on road fatalities this year show an increase as on an average 41 people died in road mishaps.  If you look at the staggering growth in vehicles over the last 10 years – one is awestruck and wonders why we are unable to cope.   

Growth of Vehicles in Andhra Pradesh

 

Andhra Pradesh has a Road Safety Authority, but only on paper. An Indian Police Service officer of no less than the DGP rank is normally posted as chairman of this Authority but without any “authority” as such, a DG-rank officer who once served in this post observed. In fact, this is treated as a ‘punishment posting’ for a top-ranking IPS officer. 

The RTA of GoAP also runs a lot of safety campaigns under the banner – SAFAR, has been tech-savvy and uploaded number of short films on YouTube also. But the target audience has probably better videos of Waka Waka by Shakira shaking her booty for FIFA 2010 than these educative videos. For interest of others, one can watch them on http://www.aptransport.org/html/short-films.php. ARE WE REALLY BOTHERED??? 

CITIZEN INTEREST: 

My take as law-abiding conscientious citizen who follows traffic rules to the T – have the following submission to the State government and its officers. As a small child writes to the President or Prime Minister – am taking liberty to give my two cents worth inputs hoping better results. 

There needs to be BHAGIDHARI (Partnership) initiative by RTA & Traffic Cops with citizens and make them involved in this project. Merely running campaigns on radio & TV, YouTube, mango boards and billboards doesn’t connect with them and violations continue unabated. 

One needs to instill sense of pride, connect and need to partner with the department to reduce these fatalities rates and follow traffic rules and attempt to make driving pleasure again. Since corporates are always finding ways to have new CSR initiatives – many would be willing to come up only if this BHAGIDHARI initiative is implemented. It needs to be WE WILL ACHIEVE, YES WE CAN kind of approach than unidirectional as is currently the case. 

Simple Initiatives

  1. Don’t fine traffic offenders
    1. Fine collection is the simplest & smallest of reprimand for a traffic violation. There is no disincentive for him not to commit the same offence again.
    2. Make offender man the same junction/signal that he jumped on pre-specified timings – duration can be a function of type & seriousness of offence
    3. Offender needs to catch a minimum number of similar offenders to get his vehicles & driving license back
    4. His circle of friends, colleagues – college or office is notified and parents are made to appear at PS. Attempt is to instill respect for law and also shame as his name gets splashed on notice boards of the college or company
    5. Social service or community work is part of the punishment, manning traffic signals at toughest traffic junctions for a certain period subject to nature of offence committed
  2. Partnership with institutions: Corporate sector, Schools & Colleges
    1. CSR initiatives like Deloitte helping traffic police needs to be multiplied
    2. School kids need to instilled sense of pride in following traffic rules and need to inform police if they notice their parents or school bus violating rules
    3. School kids need to be shown traffic signs, short safety films, have competition for giving best suggestions to beat this mess
    4. College kids who migrate from cycles to bikes even before 16 need to given these campaign collaterals, shown safety films from Grade XII in colleges
    5. Administration & HR Department of corporate sector need to be tapped to drive this partnership drive to instill discipline and punish traffic offenders – name with photo displayed on notice boards, sent on intranet mail – they need to feel the guilt of traffic violations
    6. Work with NSS, Scouts & Guides and Reserve Police teams to help in conducting regular camps on the roads

But these need to done with OUT-OF-BOX approach & mindset if any results are to be seen. RTA & Traffic Police need to work in an integrated manner and TAKE FIRST STEP of going out and partnering than wait for people to come to them. 

Every time there is any traffic violation – the above steps keep lingering and hence thought prudent to share my thoughts. I am willing to work on this plan as a communications professional to help your teams who are doing a handsome job in their limited role to make driving easy. But we citizens have lost civic sense and pride of calling Hyderabad OURS and hence this disrespect. BUT YES WE CAN spirit can make driving a pleasure again on the broad roads with better traffic discipline…

Written by schelluri

June 25, 2010 at 8:08 pm