Stating that education on road safety is a life skill for being safe on the roads, Director General of Police (DGP) Dr Muktesh Chander has claimed that various measures undertaken by the police to bring in traffic discipline among road users have been effective. He, however, said still much more needs to be done.
“There has been a change and it is visible, as there is an increase in compliance. People are obeying traffic rules and laws…even police personnel who were earlier not wearing helmet have started wearing, including the pillion rider,” said Chander adding that he was trying his best. “We can do better if other (government) departments cooperate…whole-heartedly,” he said.
Quoting Robert Frost’s poem ‘Stopping by woods on a snowy evening… the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep,’ Chander said, “We have a long way to go…..a lot of work is yet to be done.”
Replying to a question on the role of other government agencies and departments in road safety measures, Chander said: “The licensing procedure must be stringent. The rider or driver must be able to understand the road signages, road markings and that they should be obeyed. The licensing authority should test the overall capabilities of the rider or driver,” Chander said. He also said that licences should be suspended as per guidelines issued by the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety.
According to Chander, roads have to be designed
properly with road safety in mind. “There are inherent defects in roads because of which accidents are caused. There are black spots, there are so many other engineering problems, which cause road accidents,” he said adding that there was absence of road markings, signs, traffic control devices, zebra crossings on Indian roads.
Chander said that the designing of roads should be done in such a way that even if there is a mistake of the driver, the injury should be minimum. “We don’t have anything like this in most places…like crash barriers wherein accident impact is minimised,” Chander said.
Speaking on the emergency response, Chander said that the one hour after an accident is important. “It is called the golden hour. Within one hour if an accident victim gets medical attention, lot of lives can be saved. There is a need to strengthen that mechanism. People should be able to help road accident victims without any fear. There is a law now according to which if anyone takes a road accident victim (to a hospital) and if he or she does not want to disclose their name and address, they won’t be asked anything,” said Chander. He further said that hospitals should not refuse to provide treatment. “They are supposed to provide treatment to road accident victims, whether it is a private or public hospital,” he said.
As regards to road safety education, he said: “We have been writing to the education department, educational institutes in connection with road safety awareness. We hear that road safety will be implemented in the curriculum. Education on road safety is a life skill for being safe on the roads.”
Commenting on law enforcement, Chander said that enforcement should serve as a deterrent so that a person does not repeat an offence again. He said that the current fines for violation of traffic laws were not acting as a deterrent.