All over the world, every effort is being made to prevent road accidents. Innovation and implementation of all safety measures and devices are religiously followed once the benefit is proven. But in our country, it is a vision in direct contrast: Practising exactly the opposite. Proper helmets have proven their value, but their use is always resisted by the two-wheeler riders. Seat belts are the game changer as far as spinal injury is concerned, but taken very lightly and casually. Civilised countries follow traffic rules, but in India, breaking the traffic rule is considered heroic for many and a privilege for others. Year after year, the number of vehicles is mushrooming, beyond the capacity that our roads can handle. Lack of system and order is creating chaos across the cities.
Above all, Indian roads seem to be meant exclusively for accidents. Fundamentally, the roads are so lopsided and uneven. The quality is such that there are numerous pot holes posing threats to life and limb. But the man-made road humps are unique to our culture. I have never witnessed such a phenomena anywhere in the world. The roads are meant for smooth, quick and safe travel. We are far away from any of these objectives. Usual standard is to have rumblers to alert the drivers. These humps are made all odd locations. There are no standards followed even on so called highways. Any locally influential person can create a hump on various pretexts to dampen the speed. The intention may be right, but there are better and safer methods to achieve the goal. The humps
are absolutely dangerous. First of all, they appear as a surprise and are completely invisible and without any warning. The engineering is such that the sharp edges can throw the vehicles out of balance, certainly all the two -wheelers and even the four-wheelers. At nights and during rain, the danger increases manifold. In fact, so many youngsters have lost their precious lives due to these humps. Despite their being a public hazard, neither the public nor the policymakers give any attention to them. For the pillion riders, it’s much more dangerous. They get thrown out first and most of them think they don’t need to wear a helmet. In addition, regular travel on such roads can cause back pain, muscle pains anddisc prolapse requiring surgery apart from the wear and tear of tyresand vehicles. In many countries, the stakeholders have to pay a penalty for such bad roads. Leave alone penalty, here we don’t even have accountability.
Every year, we advocate road safety and road safety week without fail. Instead of spending money on banners and slogans, each year, if we had takenup one problem and corrected it forever, we would have come a long way by now. But it is sad that we bank on lame excuses all the time. As a responsible society, we don’t have vision to improve and a mindset to implement.