Have the City’s roads become safer? From personal experience, many motorists may say no, but the Bangalore Traffic Police cite statistics and claim that 2012 has registered the lowest rate of accidents in the last 20 years.
The traffic police feel that their efforts, in the form of intensive campaigns and disciplining of the public, have contributed to the reduction in accidents.
Metrolife interacts with the traffic police and people to understand how the rate of
accidents has dipped. Additional commissioner of police (traffic) M A Saleem says that strict enforcement is the key to the reduction of accidents. “We booked 52 lakh cases of violations in 2012 alone. The many campaigns are making a difference,” he adds.
The year 1993 witnessed 7,648 accidents. In 2000, the number rose to 8,391 and 2003 scaled another high by recording the highest number of accidents as 10,505. The number dipped again in 2007 to 8,426. And last year, there were only 5,502 accidents.
The ordinary people and regular drivers feel that it isn’t just the campaigns by the traffic police that have been making a difference. They point out that these campaigns were always held and violations such as non-usage of helmets, breaking the one-way rule, overspeeding and three or more people riding on a bike still persist. But, they feel that it is the responsible behaviour by the public that could be the reason behind the decrease in accidents.
Jithin Samuel, a professional, feels that the reduction in the number of accidents is
because of the increase in the number of vehicles on the road. “Because of the addition of lakhs of vehicles in the City every year, there is a reduction in the average speed on the roads. Earlier, there was slow-moving traffic in the heart of the City — but now, even residential areas complain of congestion,” reasons Jithin.
On the other hand, Nishant Christian, a student, believes that the fall in the number of accidents is directly related to the reduction in the cases of drunken driving. “The police have always been trying to enforce rules. But it looks like the people have started paying heed to these rules only now. For instance, motorists have started wearing helmets now because if they are caught without one, then paying
a fine or even a bribe is the same as the price of a new helmet,” he notes.
But Deepak Prakash, another student, points out that the enforcement of rules by the police doesn’t seem to make a difference.
“People still ride without helmets and it’s common to see more than two people on
a bike, vehicles overtaking from the left side or breaking the one-way rule. The enforcement hasn’t really been effective,” feels Deepak.
Dominic, a professional, thinks that people have contributed to the reduction in accidents. “We have a more educated, alert populace today than what we had 20 years ago. People don’t want the hassle of the seizure of vehicles and paying hefty fines,” Dominic concludes.