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A Year of More Cars and Traffic Snarls

Author T. K. Malhotra, President And CEO

Traffic related issues are the concerns for the society as a whole and not that of the Government or Traffic Police alone. Road behaviour of drivers has a direct bearing on the traffic discipline. Year 2004 witnessed influx of increasing vehicles with traffic jams, shameless traffic violations, flagrant over speeding, use of utterly loud and indignant pressure horns and scornful overtaking. More than shrinkage of overburdened road space, it were the acts of drivers unmitigated chaos and accidents. If the statistics are anything to believe, the year recorded 87870 prosecutions, 945925 traffic violations, 38636 impounding of vehicles, 1692 fatal road accidents, 1710 road deaths and 8530 road accidents. As large number as 49% were pedestrians killed in road related accidents which means two pedestrians consigned to flames every 24 hrs. Though the number of deaths is no less than 2003, the fact that vehicular pollution in Delhi also saw tremendous increase touching a figure of 4.4 million should not be overlooked. The road length being the same as 25948 Kms., the spur in death toll matching number of increased vehicles now transacting on Delhi roads has been significantly down.

No doubt, Traffic Police inspite of short manpower has still done a commendable job in combating accident rate. 'Any Time, Any Where' approach to the use of interceptors did send alarming signals to drivers to manage the speed on roads. It is also the need of the day to post more speed warning signs and paint clear road markings to remind the drivers that they were entering an area which needs extra care and attention. Speed enforcement and checks on traffic violations is about road safety, not revenue collection. The drivers should obey road signs, traffic laws and it's the police task to ensure this happens. The combined effect of the collective effort of drivers and traffic police would ensure that the roads become a safer place for everyone - an outcome much easier to achieve if drivers are confident that a reasonable and common sense approach is required in steering artifice.

Willing to experience the feel of new designs and models being introduced in the Indian Market, the buyers today are as spoilt for choice as consumers in developed markets in European and other countries. Perhaps in the coming years the consumers' choice will widen with entire model range being brought to India by foreign car manufacturing companies. Who knows that with such a galloping growth, the very machine once embodied so much of what was good and noble in our dream may force us to question our way of life by taking away our complete mobility and leaving us no space to escape. A conservative approach in adding new vehicles on roads may perhaps some solution to the emerging traffic problems.