Safe road journeys

In recent years, as the road network has increased, the number of vehicles has also gone up. It is estimated that there are more than 1653  thousand vehicles registered in the government offices. Although there are mushrooming numbers of associations registered for the advocacy of safe road journeys, workers’ safety and conducive environment for  road journeys, the efforts have not reduced the road accidents. In recent years, many road accidents have indicated that the issue must be solved as soon as possible through joint ventures and campaigns.

The behavior of the drivers is one of the key factors for accidents. Major causes for road accidents include use of mobile phones and partaking of alcohol while driving. Drivers who allow their helpers to drive also cause the accidents. Moreover, the government’s passiveness in license verification has become  a valid cause for road accidents. Use of  old vehicles,  driving buses in the single and narrow lane in hilly and rough and fair weather roads  also cause tragic accidents.

The so-called roads lack bollards, causeways, speed breakers, reflectors, pedestrian crossings or tunnels, wildlife tunnels and so on. Further, there is lack of road furniture such as bus shelters, guideposts, road signs and traffic lights which also cause accidents.

Firstly, the government, particularly the traffic police, must organise systematic and regular orientation programs, at least once a year, for all drivers and helpers to stop the terrible road accidents.   The profile of the drivers and helpers--name, address and contact numbers--must be maintained by the traffic police.

In addition, if the government would like to issue permits to use the newly constructed roads, the roads should be maintained by the concerned authority throughout the year. Further, the road and its watershed areas must be maintained by the Road Department in close coordination with the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation.

The condition of all vehicles must be checked every month by the local authority. The drivers must follow the code of conduct.  The owners of the vehicles must install CC TV and Global Positioning System (GPS) in the vehicles to watch passenger behaviors as well. The government should encourage environment friendly slogans and green-sky blue color on the buses and trucks, rather than naughty words and lazy colors.