Thursday, December 06, 2007


N D Shiva Kumar finds out why Bangalore has the third-worst fatality rate in road accidents

As many as 5,631 persons have been killed and 46,926 persons injured on Bangalore roads from 2001. And the unanimous verdict is that the IT corridors and outskirts are the killer stretches.
BMTC buses in the city are no different from the killer Blueline buses of Delhi. In the last 10 months, they’ve killed 97 persons and injured 288. Since 2004, these buses have killed 366 persons and injured 1478 persons.
Various factors have contributed to Bangalore being the third-most dangerous city in the country when it comes to traffic. Lack of space is an important reason. The city roads can hold only around 8 lakh vehicles, but there are more than 30 lakh vehicles now. Poor quality roads, bad lighting, unmanned junctions, lack of signals, shortage of traffic policemen, motorists’ impatience and utter disregard for traffic rules and inadequate rescue mechanisms only make matters worse.
Another contributing factor to motorists’ indiscipline is lack of fear. Under the Motor Vehicles Act, the transport department can cancel the licence of a motorist if an offence is repeated. But, the rule has remained only on paper. The city traffic police introduced BlackBerrys to identify and come down heavily on repeat offenders. But these have remained ineffective as the traffic police don’t have the database of offending motorists. “Of the 10 Regional Transport Offices in the city, only five are computerised. So, we do not have data of all vehicles registered in the city. Till all the RTOs are computerised, it is difficult for us to identify repeat offenders and take further action,” said a police officer.
The traffic police register around 15 lakh cases of traffic offences every year. This year, till October 31, they have registered 10.78 lakh cases.
Initiatives like one-ways and traffic wardens have been of little help in reducing fatalities.
Experts feel that all stakeholders — BBMP, transport department and traffic police — should work together; the growth of vehicular population should be halted, mass transport system like the Metro rail and better road transport system should be in place; police should implement traffic laws strictly and the citizens should be more disciplined. “It takes a lot of time for all this to happen. For the time being, motorists have to be more cautious while driving. After all, it’s their life,” said an officer.


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