Traffic police authorities have fined nearly 37,000 motorists in the national capital for overspeeding -- one of the major casues of road accidents in the country -- besides issuing over 7.1 lakh 'challans' for helmet-related rule violations this year.
Issues of road safety have been brought to the fore by a few recent cases, including the tragic episode involving a moving car which plunged off a flyover in west Delhi's Punjabi Bagh area, killing four college students.
Traffic police authorities feel that many accidents could be avoided if people also adhered to other traffic regulations, besides driving vehicles at legally-permitted speeds.
"As many as 36,961 commuters were issued challans for overspeeding this year till May 15 this year. Besides, 7,12,343 people were fined in the same period for not wearing helmets," a senior Delhi Trafic Police official told PTI, quoting from official figures.
But it isn't just disregarded for speed limits that is putting drivers and fellow commuters at risk; other potentially fatal practices include the rampant use of mobile phones while commuting and driving without wearing seats belts.
At least 2,06,427 commuters have been fined till May 15 this year for seat belt violations and 9,259 for drunk- driving, the police said. The most common cause of accidents on India's roads is overspeeding, which accounted for over 43 per cent of all accidents in 2015, according to NCRB data.
Reckless driving, which includes offenses such as lane- changing and overtaking wrongly, came next -accounting for over 31 per cent of accidents. According to Delhi Police, challans were issued to 4,930 motorists for driving vehicles while using mobile phones in 2016.
A total of 86,771 violators were challaned last year for overspeeding. Injury sustained in a road accident is one of the main causes of trauma. According to a WHO report, by 2020, trauma will be the third largest killer in the developing world, including India.
According to (Indian Society for Trauma and Acute Care ISTAC), one trauma-related death occurs in India every 1.9 minutes. "The majority of victims in fatal road-traffic accidents are pedestrians, two-wheeler riders and cyclists," says ISTAC. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2014, out of the total accidental deaths that year, over 37 per cent were due to traffic accidents.
Last year, til May 15, traffic police authorities had challaned 39,563 commuters for overspeeding, just a little lower than the corresponding figure this year. Senior officers feel that challans are serving as a deterrent and thus brought a substantial decrease in the number of fatal road accidents in the national capital.
Last year 7,375 accidents took place in Delhi. This year 2,514 cases have been reported till May 15. In the May 15 Punjabi Bagh case, besides the four deaths, three persons were injured. Its causes are still being probed. The Honda V-Tec car, which toppled off the flyover and landed next to a railway line, was carrying people beyond its capacity.
The police suspect that the vehicle was being driven at a high speed with the students having left for their examination centre 15 to 20 minutes before the its scheduled start.
In another incident, a pavement dweller at Kashmere Gate was killed and three others were injured after being run over by a car allegedly driven by a Class XII student of DPS Mathura Road on April 20.
The number of deaths due to road accidents in the national capital has also been declining steadily in the past few years, with fatalities going down from 2,153 in 2010 to 1,591 in 2016, the police official said, adding, the deterrence factor seem to be working, but strict adherence to traffic laws will avert many more accidents and save lives.
(Feature image source: PTI)