Twin dangers snuffing out most lives in road accidents

Twin dangers snuffing out  most lives in road accidents
Most roads in the city continue to be unsafe due to two major causes  drunk-driving and helmetless riding.

These two offences have also challenged pedestrian safety, despite efforts by various agencies to improve the situation. Increasing vehicular population and severe congestion are indirectly prompting these two offences.

Personal vehicles

There are about 68 lakh vehicles in the city, including about 40% two-wheelers and 20% four-wheelers. Around 34 lakh vehicles have been added to the city between 2006 and 2016.
Bengaluru has personal vehicles accounting for 43%, highest in the country. Mumbai has about 18% personal vehicles due to a better mass transport system.

Head injury

Head injury remains the top reason for deaths in accidents. The head is more prone to be injured, among other organs. The city witnessed 793 accident deaths in 2016. About 70% of the victims were pedestrians, riders and pillion riders. Most of them lost their lives due to severe injuries to their heads. The police say wearing helmets can prevent about 35% deaths on the roads.

“The riders and pillion riders should wear helmets not because police will take action, but for their own safety,” additional commissioner (traffic) R Hithendra says.

“Drunk driving remains the major threat to road users. This offence doesn’t just endanger the life of the offender, but also innocent people on the road,” he points out.

Dubious distinction

Bengaluru accounts for the highest number of drunk-driving cases in the country. Liquor consumption is higher in Bengaluru compared to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. The police enforce norms pertaining to drunk-driving strictly. Hence the cases are more, so also enforcement rate.

The law helps to curb drunk-driving and to some extent, helmetless riding. The police say only self-realisation and self-reformation would ensure positive change.

Public transport

City police commissioner Praveen Sood considers the city’s infrastructure and vehicular population as a demand and supply gap. “There is more demand for space, but availability is less. Encouraging public transport will help to some extent,” he says.
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