Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Curb the cabbies: Overspeeding drivers put citizens' lives at risk

Curb the cabbies: Overspeeding drivers put citizens' lives at risk
Bengaluru,


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Overworked, sleep deprived cab drivers are violating traffic norms with reckless driving and putting lives at risk. The traffic department booked 5,000 cases against such drivers in the city in just two weeks, reports Amit S. Upadhye. Companies which run cabs must train their drivers in defen- sive driving. We note- down the registration numbers of cabs which violate the law and collect fines from their companies. We intend to continue the drive against them. We must scale up the levels of enforce- ment and the police must ensure that the signboards are of international stan- dards. We plan to upgrade junctions in accordance with international stan- dards of road safety. Given the volume of traffic and indisci- pline on the roads, the police has a tough time dealing with it every day.

Training and aware- ness is the key to making cab drivers more disciplined on the roads.

Even before you can locate the median lane on a busy road in Bengaluru, a swarm of yellow board vehicles passes your car from all directions. Speeding cabs have become almost as much a nuisance on city roads as rashly driven autorickshaws.
The city traffic police has booked as many as 5,000 cabs from over 200 companies running taxi services in Bengaluru for violations like signal jumping and reckless driving over the last fortnight. Frustrated at the brazen violation of speeding limits by the cabs, and their disdain for noparking zones, the police hopes the special monthlong drive against them will make a difference to the way they operate.

Currently, nothing they do seems to make the cab drivers toe the line. Also, if the law men are to be believed, commuting in cabs is not always safe late at night and you could be inviting trouble by hitching rides on BPO and airport going taxis when its dark and lonely on the roads. There’s a possibility that you could be robbed, they say.

The problem lies with companies hiring drivers for their taxi services without proper verification, say traf

fic experts. Three out of five cab drivers who arrive in Bengaluru looking for jobs are from smaller towns and cities, according to them. "A number of these men are from the districts and even neighbouring states. They come to Bengaluru in search of jobs and usually approach the travel agencies with their own cars or join them as drivers. As a lot of them have been issued licenses in smaller towns and cities, they find driving on the much more crowded Bengaluru roads difficult," they add.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic) Pravin Sood says managements of travel companies are being tackled to make sure their drivers don't violate rules on city roads. "What we need today is something called defensive driving which is entirely lacking among 90 per cent of drivers in the public sector in the city. Defensive driving gives the driver better control over his vehicle, even if the other commuters show little respect for traffic rules," he explains.Mr Sood suggests companies which use cabs to bring their employees to work and back should put their drivers through a training programme to make sure they are safe in their hands.

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