Road Safety: In pursuit of a comprehensive policy

Road Safety: In pursuit of a comprehensive policy

Road accidents take a heavy toll of people more so on Kashmir highway during the chilly months of winter and consequently road safety attracts the attention of the people at the helm in transport and traffic department . Unfortunately the concerns of road safety don’t go beyond the conduct of road safety weeks by the traffic police and motor vehicles department. Though successive governments promised much but did little to lessen the risks on the roads in all the three regions of the state. Irony of the fact is that after looking at the figures of road accident deaths we experience that s roads accidents have claimed more lives than militancy related incident during last 20 years in the state . If the official reports are to be believed undeniable fact is that more than 280 persons have been killed last year in road accidents in Kashmir valley. Interestingly the number of road accident deaths in Jammu region, especially on its killer roads in the hilly belts of Chenab Valley and the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch is usually much higher than Kashmir valley. Despite public outcry against the unchecked rise in the no of road accident deaths over the period of years, the Jammu & Kashmir Government does not bother to talk about the pressing issue of road safety unless and until some tragic road accident results in the deaths of dozens of people in one or the other part of the state. Issuing a statement of sympathy with the bereaved families and paying ex-gratia relief of few thousands or even lacs does not sent out a message that the government is deeply concerned on the failures of road safety measures presently in place in the state. In fact the failures of traffic regulation authorities in implementing road safety measures are the real issues of grave concern for the people but the state government is not paying heed to public outcry on this count.

A comprehensive policy to check road accidents would require a system of check and balances to ensure better traffic management in Jammu & Kashmir state .

The job of ensuring road safety cannot be left to occasionally conceived measures like the one named “ celebrating road safety week” . In fact celebrating road safety week demands focused attention of the government on road safety measures including curbs on rash driving and overcrowding of passengers in passenger vehicles. Though flaws have been detected in the system of roads, transport and traffic regulation, but efforts are not made rectify the wrongs detected in the system of roads, transport and traffic regulation. To make the road safety measures a success that government has an institutional and administrative responsibility to improve the condition of roads across the length and breadth of the state. The irregularities found in the the fixation of route permits for passenger buses and the procedures for issuance of driving licenses are the other two issues which should attract the attention of traffic management expert of the government . Above all adequate mechanisms for regulating traffic with focus on indiscipline and traffic violations also deserves the immediate attention of the traffic management system of the state government. A comprehensive policy to check road accidents would require a system of check and balances to ensure better traffic management in Jammu & Kashmir state . These steps need to be taken, without any further delay so that innocent lives are not lost on killer roads in the state.

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