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Dr. Jitendra castigates govt for frequent road accidents

Jammu, December 19 (Scoop News) –Taking serious note of recurring incidents of road accidents causing heavy causality and taking toll of precious lives, BJP State Chief Spokesperson & National Executive Member Dr. Jitendra Singh has castigated the National Conference led coalition government for its wrong priorities and cosmetic measures of development instead of focusing on fundamental issues of human concern.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said it is most shameful to observe that during the last six months, more number of people have died because of road accidents as compared to militancy related incidents. He said instead of fruitlessly harping on the issue of withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and demoralizing the security forces, the Chief Minister and his government should better concentrate on preventing road accident related causalities which are very much within the government purview and control.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said failure to check overloading and over speeding of public transport vehicles in connivance with traffic police and government functionaries is the major cause of these incidents. Upon this, improper maintenance of roads and frequent digging with fatal holes has led to chaos even in city premises. Meanwhile, high state functionaries, including ministers and senior bureaucrats remain unaffected because of the safe motorcades regulated by accompanying security personnel, he added.

The traffic police has been reduced only to a token presence for regulating VIP traffic alleged Dr. Jitendra Singh adding that on one hand people are dying daily on the hill roads, on the other hand there are also chaos on city roads due to unauthorized parking risking lives of commoners, particularly elder citizens and children.

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Six killed in road accident in Jharkhand

Hazaribagh, Jharkhand: Six persons were on Wednesday killed when their vehicle rammed into a stationary truck on the National Highway 2 near Chauparan in Hazaribagh district, about 80 kilometres from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand.

An employee of the Central Coalfields Limited, who was going to Burkunda in adjoining Ramgarh district from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh with his family members and their driver were killed in the accident that could have been caused by fog, Sub-divisional Police Officer of Barhi, B K Sinha said.

He said that the bodies were badly mutilated in the accident and could be extricated only after cutting open the wreckage, Sinha said.

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Person flees scene after two-car accident on Springdale Rd

According to authorities, a black car was pulling out of a strip mall on Springdale Road. Another vehicle, which appeared to be a blue Honda Civic, was reportedly speeding down the road, and hit the black car from behind.

Following the collision, the vehicles ended up about a quarter mile apart.

Police on scene said the Honda Civic had two males in it, with one taken to the hospital and the other person fleeing from the scene on foot. A helicopter was brought in to locate the missing person.

A woman in the black car was also taken to a nearby hospital.

An employee of nearby Angilo’s Pizza said a ‘demolished car’ was sitting in front of the shopping center on Springdale Rd, and another was located near Marino Drive and Springdale.

No word on the condition of the injuries.

Springdale Road was closed for sometime on Tuesday evening.

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3 killed, 7 injured in road accident in Ahmedabad

Two labourers and a passenger were killed after a mini-truck rammed into a stationary truck stationed near a tea stall in Viramgam, on Tuesday. Both labourers were standing on the rear side of the truck when it was hit.

At 7:30am, while the labourers were having tea near Panchmukhi temple on Popat crossroads, the mini truck came zooming in from the opposite direction and collided with the stationed truck. The impact of the collision was so sever that the mini truck was almost unidentifiable.

The labourers who were crushed under the wheels of the mini truck were identified as Rasool Meda, 23, a resident of Dahod and Mukesh Das, 23, a resident of Bihar. They used to work at a construction site opposite the temple. Ajit Dave, 25, a resident of Viramgam, who was seated next to the driver in the mini truck also died in the accident.

Seven others including Jayanti Vaghela, the driver of the mini truck were also injured. PB Rana, PSI, Viramgam town police, said, “We have registered a case of accidental death against the driver of the mini truck. The injured have been admitted to Bhagyoday hospital in Viramgam.”

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JK Governor,CM,Minister expresses grief over road accidents in Mahore

Jammu, December 18 (Scoop News) – JK Governor, NN Vohra,CM,Omar Abdulla and Minister for Higher Education, Labour and Employment, Abdul Gani Malik expressed grief over road accidents in Mahore in which ten persons died and six others injured near Mahore in Reasi district.

N. N. Vohra, Governor, has expressed grief over the death of ten persons in a tragic road accident near Mahore, in Reasi district, today.
In a message, the Governor conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls. He also prayed for the speedy recovery of all those injured in this accident.

Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has expressed deep grief over the loss of lives in road accident near Mahore in Reasi district.
In his condolence message, the Chief Minister conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for peace to the departed souls. He also prayed for early recovery of the injured.
The Chief Minister directed the Divisional Administration and Health Department to provide all required medical treatment to the injured.
Expressing concern over the frequent road accidents taking place in Chenab Valley region, Omar Abdullah directed the Transport and Traffic Departments and District Administrations to review the scenario jointly and work out strategy to curb these accidents and help save human lives.

Meanwhile JK Minister for Higher Education, Labour and Employment, Abdul Gani Malik has expressed deep shock and grief over the tragic accident of a Tempo Traveller near Mahore, Reasi today morning, in which several precious lives were lost and equal number injured.
Expressing sympathy with the bereaved families, Malik prayed for the eternal peace of the departed souls and speedy recovery of injured.
The Minister issued instructions to the local authorities to shift injured to hospitals and extend all possible Medicare to them.

According to Police ten persons were killed when their vehicle rolled down into a deep gorge in Reasi district.

Police said that the vehicle was on its way to Jammu from Mahore when it skidded off the road and rolled down into a deep gorge .

The injured persons have been admitted to GMC Hospital in Jammu for treatment.

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Two killed in road accident in Noida

Two dead and two injured as a Scorpio collides with a container truck in Noida’s Sector 63. For more info log on to:

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4 dead in 2 Emirates Road accidents; Parked car gets hit killing 3 inside

Four people died and four others were severely injured in two separate traffic accidents in Dubai yesterday.

Three people died and two injured in a serious accident on the Emirates Road on Monday afternoon, Dubai Police said.

Police officials said a saloon car was parked on the roadside on Emirates Road after it broke down and all the five people were sitting inside the vehicle waiting for the roadside assistance. Then a four-wheel car, driven by a Sudanese, hit the parked car while driving by at a high speed, killing three people and seriously injuring two, police said.
A second major accident took place only four hours later, taking the life of one Emirati driver, the Dubai Traffic Police told this website.

At 7.10pm three vehicles clashed on Dubai Bypass Road (north), likely due to the appearance of a jaywalker.

One vehicle was a Honda Accord, of which the driver died and the passenger is severely injured.

The driver of the second vehicle, a Toyota FJ, is severely injured. Slightly injured was the driver of the third vehicle, car type unknown.

All involved in the accident were Emirati.

In the first accident, police said the four-wheel driver crashed into the parked car as the driver lost control of his fast-speed vehicle. The vehicle crossed the yellow line and hit the parked saloon car. The saloon car was parked on the roadside due to a tyre problem, police said.

The accident happened today (Monday) afternoon at 3.10pm under the Al Warqa Interchange near Al Rashidiya Exit on Emirates Road.

The five people were from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Nepal. Among the dead two were Pakistanis and one Bangladeshi. The driver was said to be a Pakistani.The four-wheel driver has been arrested by the police.
A second major accident took place only four hours later, taking the life of one Emirati driver, the Dubai Traffic Police told this website.

At 7.10pm three vehicles clashed on Dubai Bypass Road (north), likely due to the appearance of a jaywalker.

One vehicle was a Honda Accord, of which the driver died and the passenger is severely injured.

The driver of the second vehicle, a Toyota FJ, is severely injured. Slightly injured was the driver of the third vehicle, car type unknown.

All involved in the accident were Emirati.

In the first accident, police said the four-wheel driver crashed into the parked car as the driver lost control of his fast-speed vehicle. The vehicle crossed the yellow line and hit the parked saloon car. The saloon car was parked on the roadside due to a tyre problem, police said.

The accident happened today (Monday) afternoon at 3.10pm under the Al Warqa Interchange near Al Rashidiya Exit on Emirates Road.

The five people were from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Nepal. Among the dead two were Pakistanis and one Bangladeshi. The driver was said to be a Pakistani.The four-wheel driver has been arrested by the police.

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18 persons killed in road accident in MP

The accident, involving four vehicles, took place near Maihar Cement plant in Maihar Tehsil of the district. A car was hit by a truck from behind, killing all its four occupants on the spot. At the same time, a Gama jeep carrying 24 persons was hit from rear by another truck loaded with iron rods, killing 14 persons and injuring eight others, Satna Collector KK Khare told PTI.

The injured were admitted in Satna and nearby hospitals, he said. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced ex-gratia of Rs one lakh each to the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 each to seriously injured and Rs 10,000 each to those who suffered minor wounds, Khare said. The district administration also announced financial aid of Rs 22,000 each to the family of the deceased persons and Rs 5,000 each to the injured, the Collector said.

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Three family members perish in Road Accident

THREE people from one family perished in Mutare on Saturday night while five others sustained serious injuries when the vehicle they were travelling in veered off the road and hit a tree.


Manicaland police spokesperson Inspector Enock Chishiri confirmed the fatal crash and identified the deceased as Gilbert Sithole (63) from Harare, Sheila (25) and Mukudzei Chiota, both from Vambe village under Chief Chinamora.

Other occupants in the vehicle, Edmore Sithole (43), Hope Sithole (42), Bernadette Sithole (65), Tafadzwa Sithole (25), Trust Sithole (37) and Greater Chiota (52) sustained injuries. They were all rushed to Mutare Provincial Hospital for treatment.

According to police, the family members were travelling along Mutare-Masvingo Road when the accident happened at around 11:30pm.

“The driver of the vehicle Edward Edmore Sithole lost control of the Nissan truck they were traveling in at the 9km peg along Mutare-Masvingo Road. The vehicle veered off the road and hit a tree. Two people (Gilbert and Sheila) died on the spot,” Chishiri said. All other passengers were rushed to Mutare Provincial Hospital for treatment, but unfortunately Mukudzei died on admission.

Chishiri said police were still investigating the cause of the accident, but he warned drivers to be cautious on the roads this festive season.

“All drivers should be cautious on the roads this festive season. They should avoid driving while tired and should also check whether their vehicles are roadworthy or not before driving, so as to avoid accidents,” he said.

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10 killed as minibus rolls down gorge in Reasi

Katra, December 18
Ten persons were killed and four critically injured when a minibus rolled down a mountainous road while negotiating a turn in Reasi district this morning, the police said.

The minibus carrying 16 persons was on its way from Mahore to Jammu. The vehicle rolled down a 500-foot-deep gorge at Malai Nallah in Mahore tehsil, about 150 km from here, around 9.30 am.

The police said 10 persons, including the driver of the bus, were killed in the accident. The driver of the minibus apparently lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a sharp curve leading to the mishap.

The injured, airlifted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu, have been identified as Nazeer Ahmed and Gulam Rasool, both residents of Mahore, and Shamshad Ahmed and Mujib Ahmed, residents of Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh.

The deceased have been identified as Nazir Ahmed, Abdul Rashid, Furnail Singh, Nain Singh, Chandia, Manzoor Ahmed, Abdul Rashid, Gullu, Shabar Ahmed and Mohammad Afzal, all residents of Mahore.

Minister for Higher Education, Labour and Employment Abdul Gani Malik reached the spot this afternoon to meet relatives of the victims. He expressed deep shock and grief over the accident.

The minister issued instructions to the local authorities to extend all possible medical aid to the injured.

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8 die in mishap near Narwana

As many as eight persons were killed and eight were injured, some of them seriously, in an accident near Dhakal village, about 45 km from here, on the Chandigarh-Hisar highway this morning. The injured have been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where the condition of some of the victims is reported to be critical.

Police sources said the head-on collision between a Tata Ace and a truck took place around 5.30 am today. As the visibility was poor owing to heavy fog, the mishap took place when the Tata Ace driver who was trying to overtake another vehicle rammed into a truck coming from the opposite direction. This is the same place where a similar accident had resulted in the death of a judicial officer about 10 days ago, said a police official.

While seven of the deceased–Ved Pal, his wife Raj Bala, Pala Ram, his wife Phoolo Devi, Suman, daughter of Pappu, Zile Singh of Kaithal and Krishan of Pehowa died on the spot, Gonu, a minor, succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital.

The injured have been identified as Pappu, Titty, Pardeep, Rajiv, Pooja, Shivani, Jyoti and Monu. The victims belonged to some families travelling in the MUV to reach a religious Dera in Sirsa. They hailed from Sector 25 in Chandigarh and began their journey late last night . The truck carrying vegetables was on its way to Kaithal .

A case has been registered in this connection.

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SHO among five injured in mishap

Police vehicle in MP Naveen Jindal’s convoy falls into a roadside ditch
Our Correspondent

Kaithal, December 15
As many as four policemen, including Rajound police station in charge, and a civilian were injured when a police Gypsy leading the convoy of MP Naveen Jindal fell into a roadside ditch. The incident took place when the Gypsy driver tried to avert a head on collision with a tractor-trolley coming from the opposite direction.

The tractor driver also suffered injuries in the mishap. However, the vehicle in which the MP was travelling remained untouched.

Sources said on Saturday evening, Naveen Jindal landed at Rajound grain market and proceeded towards Khurra village to condole the death of Karan Singh who was shot dead during a marriage procession last week. As the convoy reached near a bridge on the Assandh road, an overloaded tractor-trolley hit a tree and was likely to hit the police vehicle. As the driver of speeding police vehicle tried to avoid collision, it fell into the ditch.

Injured Rajound SHO Kashmir Singh, ASI Shamsher Singh, constables Anju and Bharat Singh and Ram Mehar, driver of the tractor, were rushed to a hospital. Later, Kashmir Singh and Anju were reportedly referred to Chandigarh.

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Bridging the Road Safety Knowledge Gap

On June 25-28, country staff from the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and national public works ministries joined the Global Road Safety Facility in Tunis, Tunisia for a training workshop on the fundamentals of the safe system approach.

The magnitude of the road safety problem in Africa cannot be underestimated. Despite low motorization rates, fatal accidents are four times as likely to occur on African roads as in high-income countries. Across the continent, road traffic injuries have become a predominant problem for the very young (second cause of death for the 4 -14 year old age group) and the economically active. Conservative estimates place the associated costs at $10 billion a year, larger than the sum of all the development aid dedicated to infrastructure for the region. Left unchecked, fatal accidents could increase by 80% over the next decade.
These injuries and their associated economic losses are largely preventable through the adoption of a safe system approach that places the onus on institutional reform, investment strategies and results-oriented interventions aimed at scaling up country road safety programs to achieve and sustain higher levels of performance. Knowledge transfer plays a pivotal role in getting more countries around the world to adopt the safe system framework.

At the heart of this training workshop is an unprecedented joint commitment taken in 2009 by seven Multi-lateral Development Banks (MDBs) to step up road safety management knowledge transfer to low and middle income countries and scale up training in key areas related to accelerating these Banks’ capacity to implement activity on the ground in accordance with best practices. In Tunis, this translated into interactive sessions on road safety management systems, risk factors, effective campaigns & enforcement programs, performance indicators and data sources supported by country and regional case studies.

“Participation and participant response has been very encouraging”, noted Tawia Addo-Ashong, Program Coordinator of the Global Road Safety Facility. “The World Bank, AfDB and other MDBs are in the process of mainstreaming road safety into their operations and so this workshop was extremely timely to them”.

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Pushing for Pedal Power

Waiting for a revolution on two wheels — Putting more Indians on bicycles for their regular commute would yield multiple benefits: freedom from fossil fuels, reduced pollution and congestion. Official policy recognises all these gains, but has failed to reinvent cycling for cities.

Many cities are cycling towards a better future. By shifting to two better wheels, more people are able to commute to work with ease and rediscover the pleasure of streets. Mobility has improved, congestion has eased and pollution has reduced. Reinventing bicycles has turned out to be the great urban story of the decade.

European cities are leading this renaissance and their successful bicycle programmes are widely replicated in various cities, from China to the United States, with a great sense of urgency. In contrast, Indian cities have hardly made plans to promote bicycles. Even the visible success of global cycling cities has not stirred the urban-policy makers here. After years of persuasion, instead of sprinting to catch up, they have just started to take hesitant steps towards bikes.

Cycling is not new to India. It was widely used for commuting, and until about 1994, its share in total daily trips made in cities was as high as 30 per cent. Instead of finding ways of capitalising on this large user base, transport policies over the years overlooked bicycles and promoted private motorised transport. Consequently, roads started to accommodate only motorised transport, edging out the bikes. The share of bicycles trips tumbled, reaching 11 per cent by 2008.

Turnaround in Europe

European cities too neglected bicycles in favour of cars, but they were wise enough to turn around quickly. Cycles which started as a niche recreational mode of transport in the 1900s became the popular transport choice of the lower- and middle-income groups in the following decades. But in the 1950s, as a study by Fietsberaad, the Dutch knowledge institute on bicycling, shows, its use declined sharply due to the rise of cars and increasing state support for private transport. In many cities, bicycle infrastructure was removed, cycle tracks were turned into car lanes and parking lots.

Such myopic policies proved detrimental. It increased fuel consumption; choked streets, caused emissions from motorised transport to exceed limits and denied equitable use of roads. In the late 1960s, though, city managers changed direction and took to bicycles in a big way. Apart from laying dedicated tracks, enhancing safety measures, and integrating with overall transport plans, they introduced a new public bicycle sharing system. Unlike the conventional renting system where one had to bring the cycle back to the same point where it was hired, the new system allowed users to drop the bike at docking stations near their destination. This was flexible, convenient and provided more choice. Bicycle use has risen significantly.

The share of cycle trips in the city increased significantly. In the Netherlands, it is as high as 35-40 per cent, and in Denmark it is 15-20 per cent. Even in the car-obsessed American cities, the share of bicycle trips tripled between 1977 and 2009. In Portland, the bike is the fast-growing mode of transport, and in New York about 200,000 people bicycle every day.

Key reasons for the success are convenience, safety and better speed. Most trip lengths are about 5 km, and this distance can be easily covered with bicycles. Public cycle sharing systems too offer a free ride for the first 30 minutes to encourage the use of two-wheelers for short distances. Riding is safe in dedicated lanes and the speed has also enhanced — one can reach about 20 km an hour. This is far more than the crawling speed of cars on urban Indian roads.

Cities consume 75 per cent of the energy and emit 80 per cent of the greenhouse gases. Promoting cycling is critical to reduce emissions and make cities resource efficient. A recent study by the University of California, Berkeley, estimates that in the case of the Vélib bicycle system in Paris, which covers an estimated 312,000 km a day, the saving is approximately 57,720 kg of CO a day. Reduction in pollution levels also improves public health. Research by Sustrans, a sustainable transport advocacy group in the U.K., shows that every £1 invested in cycling generates about £9 worth of benefits in decreased congestion and health costs.

Asian cities, once a haven for cycles, are showing a sense of urgency in rediscovering cycling. Hangzhou in China started its bike sharing programme in 2008 and quickly grew to be the largest in Asia with a fleet of 65,000 bicycles and more than 2,500 docking stations. It generates 172,000 trips a day, covers about 1 million km a day and avoids about 190,920 kg of CO in emissions. Korea plans to develop a 3,114-km bicycle-only network by 2018. Taiwan, too, has enthusiastically embraced bicycle programmes.

Indian cities have been lethargic and have not harnessed the available potential. The 2011 census figures reveal that a large number of people still own and use bicycles. Of the 246 million households in the country, 44.8 per cent own bicycles. In cities, while the percentage of car ownership is as low as 9.7 per cent, the bicycle ownership is 42 per cent. In Delhi alone, 2.8 million trips are made every day with cycles, almost equal to the number of car trips. Unfortunately, these figures have not had any bearing on transport policies, and people continue to rely increasingly on motorised transport and bear the burden of spiralling fuel costs.

NUTP ignored

The National Urban Transport Policy, 2006 announced that a more equitable allocation of road space and greater use of non-motorised transport would be among its thrust areas, but not much happened in the years that followed. Even the National Mission for Sustainable Development, proposed in 2008 and set up in 2010 to promote green cities, did not push for bicycle programmes. Fragmented cycle tracks started emerging alongside Bus Rapid Transit lanes, but a concerted plan was missing. Only in 2011 did the government announce a comprehensive national scheme to promote bicycle use and followed it up with toolkits published recently to help the States. A few cities have taken the initiative and are in the initial stages of rolling them out.

Questions whether European models would work in Indian conditions can be easily sorted out. What is more crucial is that local governments should have the will to invest in this sustainable mode of transport. Clearly, marking dedicated, well-designed cycle lanes on roads and ensuring safe riding are not only crucial for the success of cycling , it will also be a demonstration of the state’s commitment to share road space more equitably.

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Most dying in road accidents are youths, wage-earners: WHO report

At least 30% of casualties on road in the country take a toll on lives of those in the age group of 15 to 25 years, says the recent WHO (World Health Organization) report. Ironically, the worst indicator of the report on road fatalities is that more than half of the accidents claim the lives of young wage-earners.

The traffic police department, while probing the factors responsible behind 11 major road mishaps cases that occurred within fortnight including Soraon, Industrial Area, Kaudhiyara and Mauaima and claimed 23 lives and left 27 others injured, found that most of deaths were of those in the age group of 16 to 33 years and five of them were wage-earners groups.
WHO report too revealed that the age profile of accident victims other than drivers during 2011 in the country was 25 to 65 years accounting for the largest share of 51.9% of total road accidents and casualties, followed by the 15-24 years age group comprising 30.3%.

The fact is that it’s not HIV/AIDS or any other disease which is the major killer of productive youth across the globe but road accidents.

After witnessing road rage and casualties on city streets and highways, traffic police in the district have been monitoring road safety measures with a strict hand.

With intense checking, physical ability of drivers, including buses, tempos and auto underway, traffic police officials are also interacting with road users seeking their active cooperation to make roads more safe and sound.

Traffic inspector I P Singh said, “We have adapted strict implementation of traffic rules on city streets and measures for road safety have been taken in the same regard”. He added that officials are maintaining a database on road accidents, as well as accident prevention measures at ‘accident-prone areas’ on city streets and connecting highways.

Efforts are also underway to improve the traffic scenario and errant drivers are being punished on spot. However, drivers are being taught lessons in responsible driving to minimise accidents of fatal and non-fatal kinds.

The ministry of road transport and highways has observed that road accidents on national highways constitute 31% of the total figure in the country. About 36% of total road fatalities every year occur on national highways.

Traffic police officials are still aiming to provide road safety education among masses, especially youngsters, and reach it to every commuter. “If we go through the reasons behind road accidents in fatal and non-fatal category, negligence on the part of driver was seen as the major reason,” said a senior cop, adding “following traffic norms is the only solution to check accidents on roads. With over eight lakh vehicles running on streets, it is the responsibility of every driver to follow traffic rules and regulations in all circumstances” said the traffic inspector.

While the analysis of road accident data reveals that driver’s fault was the single most common factor (78%) in road accidents, stress is being laid on educating drivers and making them aware of road safety norms.
The loss of the sole earning member of a family can be disastrous and all drivers must remember that, the latest report of road accidents in India compiled by the road transport and highways ministry said.

With intense checking, physical ability of drivers, including buses, tempos and auto underway, traffic police officials are also interacting with road users seeking their active cooperation to make roads more safe and sound. Efforts are also underway to improve the traffic scenario and errant drivers are being punished on spot

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85% of Road Deaths Young Men

Roughly 85% of the persons killed on the road are young men and many of them who are behind the wheel are improperly trained or impaired due to drug or alcohol use.

The startling statistic was released at the award presentation for Schools Road Safety Patrols, held on Monday at the Police Officers’ Mess, Eve Leary, where Transport Minister Robeson Benn warned students to look out for men, who are the predominant users of the road and drivers.

“It is important for us to get to young male drivers with respect to changing the culture, their appreciation, understanding, personal responsibility and responsibility too for the person they take and transport for their own safety, and what they have to do for us to have a changed behaviour, a change in the culture, a change in the results we are seeing,” Benn was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

He said many of the young male drivers are poorly trained or get into trouble through impaired driving, either through drug or alcohol use and driving while distracted. “Minibus parks where people drink and drive, take drugs and drive, get aggressive and almost in a ferocious mood drive off… all of these things lead to impaired driving and put the society and persons in the vehicle and other road users at risk… Many of our people who use the road in Guyana do so in an unsafe environment, in a culture of impunity, of being contemptuous to other road users, not being courteous, being insolent to the police… This is the culture which we have to change and the only way we can have a change in this culture is we have to set our goals, we have to communicate the change we want to happen… we have to accept that we can improve, that we will improve and that we want to improve,” he was also reported as saying.

Guyana is ranked number four in the Caribbean with respect to road deaths, according to Benn, who said that despite efforts to improve the traffic infrastructure, maintaining a focus on education and in changing the culture and behaviour of our road users is more important.

He pointed out that over the last five years, road fatalities have fluctuated between 113 and 115 persons annually, representing an almost 50% drop in the figure in 2007, when there were 207 road fatalities. This development, he noted, occurred although there is now an average of 80,000 vehicles on the roads of Guyana. For this, Benn credited improvement in enforcement through revamping of the laws by the Guyana Police Force’s Traffic Department and the introduction of breathalyzer tests and initiatives with respect to speeding and driving while distracted.

GINA said Benn, however, cautioned that “we cannot rest on our laurels” and added that the effort at reminding the public about road safety remains important at this time, when there are an increasing number of vehicles and activities on the roadways.

He issued a challenge to the Mini-bus Association, School Safety Patrols and Traffic Police, the Ministry of Public Works and individual operators and road users to work towards reducing the road fatalities in Guyana to below 100 in 2013. He, however, added that this record could only be achieved if persons recognise that “road safety is a personal responsibility in the first instance, and that we have to collaborate with all the agencies, to educate and engage with all the stakeholders with respect to this effort.”

Benn, according to GINA, urged the schoolchildren present to “interface with your parents, with persons who may be driving the vehicle in which you are, to say to them where they might have done something wrong while on the road or while you were in the vehicle that makes you feel unsafe, and that you may need to come out of the vehicle.”

He explained that through the constant reaching out to schools through the Traffic Safety Associations, a direct link is made with parents and persons who may take the children to school. Minister Benn said that those persons who may interface with children in this manner “can have a sharp reminder, because particularly when a child reminds a father or an adult that they may be doing something that is improper with respect to road usage it comes home in a more direct manner.”

He also encouraged the schoolchildren to have the bravery and the assertiveness to speak to people on improper use of the road.

GINA said the event targeted mainly schoolchildren, with the aim of getting them to pass the road safety message on to the adults in their lives.

In addition to Benn’s urgings, Nigel Erskine, Chairman of the Guyana National Road Safety Council (GNRSC), urged the students to apply what they have learnt when they use the road, while saying the loss of young lives is a tragedy all must try to avoid.

Lucille Bacchus, who lost her two children on the roadways during road safety month, was present and reminded the students that road safety continues every day and begins with them. She urged them to make a difference whenever they are travelling, to let drivers know when they are wrong and to report wrongdoings by drivers.

Traffic Chief, Assistant Commander of Police Brian Joseph likewise urged children to report wrongdoings and to take to take vehicle numbers. He also cautioned them about their own road use, pointing out that a great number of them do not use the pedestrian crossings near the schools. Joseph also cautioned them about the use of cell phones while using the road.

GINA said the Guyana Trinidad Mutual Life Insurance Company Ltd presented the GNRSC with 20 Stop paddles to be given to schools with trained Road Safety Patrols.

Presentations were also made to the two schools which topped the Schools Safety Patrol Competition, with the first prize going to the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School while second place went to the Tucville Secondary School. North Ruimveldt teacher Kirwyn Mars received an award for being the Best School Safety Patrol Teacher for 2012.

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Namibia: Road Death Toll Rises to 506

BY Tuesday, the number of road deaths in Namibia so far this year had climbed to 506.

There are still 26 days left of the year, but already the death toll exceeds the total figure for last year.

In 2011, 492 people were killed on the country’s roads, Catherine Shipushu, the spokesperson of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF), said yesterday.

A total of 58 people died in road accidents during December last year.

Shipushu this week said it is likely that more lives will be lost in the next few weeks as the nation prepares for the festive season.

To try and curb the carnage on the roads, the MVAF and its road-safety partners launched the annual Xupifa Eemwenyo ‘Save Lives’ road safety campaign this week.

The campaign was first introduced in 2005. It implements specific targeted interventions aimed at preventing the loss of lives on national roads during and after the festive season, Shipushu said.

This year’s campaign will focus on supporting law enforcement to enable the police to effectively roll out interventions such as random alcohol and speeding checks, she said.

“Roadblocks will be set up and tight law enforcement operations will be deployed to ensure motorists comply with traffic rules. Common road offences such as overloading, speeding, drinking and driving and unroadworthy vehicles will be closely monitored and offenders will pay the price for their unruly road behaviour.”

According to her, the campaign will also focus on educating drivers about the dangers associated with reckless and negligent driving.

“That way, the nation gets to understand the very real dangers that exist on our roads. As part of public education and awareness creation, educational material on road safety will be made available to road users during the campaign period.”

She said during the 2011/ 2012 festive season, 938 people were injured in road crashes. As a result of this, some still battle with life-threatening injuries and permanent disability.

Because of this, the MVAF tries to ensure that injured people receive medical assistance within the ‘golden hour’ following a crash, she said. “This will ensure that they have a higher chance of survival.”

The MVAF urges motorists not to take unnecessary risks such as overtaking more than one vehicle at a time. Also, drivers must make sure that all passengers wear their seat belts.

Furthermore, those who drive long distances must take safety breaks every two hours in order to avoid driver fatigue.

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Killer Tracks: The Blood on our Roads (Opinion)

Ankush Bansal, a batchmate of mine from IIM-Ahmedabad, had started an educational venture and spoke about it with much excitement at the batch reunion we had on campus in 2010. His wife was there too and he had two kids back home in Delhi. People jibed him about the days when he would sit in the first row of the class and doze off and his long-winded “CP” (class participation).
Last Sunday Bansal died. In a car crash while travelling from Dehradun to Delhi. About 142,485 people died in road accidents in 2011 in India. Every year this number has been increasing. In 2002, it was 84,672. Among those who die are some of the country’s vibrant, young, talented people whose promising lives are reduced to statistics.
The World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety says that India is the undisputed world leader in road accidents. This is one area where we have successfully beaten our traditional rival, China. Every minute there is a road accident in India and every 3.7 minutes a resulting death. Mumbai leads followed by Delhi, Bangalore, Indore and Bhopal.
What are the causes? According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, 78% of the accidents are because of the driver’s fault. The fault being mostly drunken driving. Almost all the fatalities on the road which occur on highways are due to drunken truck drivers. While cops have started imposing heavy fines on drunk drivers, there is no checking on a tanked up truck driver swaying in the highway especially at nights. That is why trucks cause 40% of all road accidents.
Prince Singhal has been an activist against drunken driving in Delhi since 1992. I ask him if the enforcement against drunk drivers has been stricter because the number of challans issued has gone up from 12,784 in 2009 to about 22,000 this year. But he tells me it is a false comfort. “In a city of about 6.5 million vehicles, the number of challans should be much more. Besides, the scale of drinking is huge in the city and has been increasing. Every locality has a theka or a club, so given the number of drunks on the road, the number of challans issued are nothing,” said Singhal.
He points out that there is no patrolling after midnight, the penalty is Rs.2,000, which any rich guy getting out of a pub can pay and more importantly, a challan is not a sufficient deterrent. He advocates that there should be more stringent punishment such as impounding of the vehicle or a jail term.
In Singapore, the punishment for drunken driving on the first offence can be as much as Singapore $5,000 (Rs.223,520) and six months of imprisonment. In the UK, it is similar along with a driving ban for 12-36 months. In Canada, it is a criminal offence, not “rash and negligent act” as it is in India. In the US, too licences are revoked and in 30 states, multiple offenders may forfeit vehicles that are driven while impaired by alcohol. In Delhi, the punishment for a second offence is Rs.3,000, the cost of a few cocktails. We are a truly tolerant society.
At least, drunken driving is a recognized offence and the revised Motor Vehicles Act is expected to raise the penalty. But there are various other reasons for motor accidents which are yet to come under any legal net.
Last week, my cousin had come down from Dubai and while we were enroute from the airport we saw a truck before us with those long rusty iron rods that trucks, tempos and handcarts nonchalantly carry in India to construction sites. They jut out of the vehicle, swaying menacingly with their edges ready to pierce through the windshield of the vehicle behind. That’s what happened, to a friend, my cousin said. This bright, beautiful girl took an auto in Chennai, which was following a vehicle transporting such rods. The auto braked suddenly and a rod pierced through her forehead. It was her engagement day. In June 1992, Carnatic music doyen Maharajapuram Santhanam, whose rich, sonorous voice could mesmerize even philistines, was returning from a concert in Kumbakonam when he died similarly in a road accident on the highway.
Who’s going to ban transport of iron rods in open vehicles?
In smaller towns of Goa and Karnataka, iron ore is transported by trucks which deteriorates road condition as there is heavy movement of truck traffic. The bad roads in turn create conditions for accidents. The local folks have called for a ban but the powerful mining lobby ensures it stays temporary.
Accidents also occur because of our appalling inability to follow any rules which is often romanticized as a “we are like this only” characteristic. Novelist Chandrahas Chaudhary makes a pertinent point in an article in Bloomberg about road safety. “The tumult of horns and cursing voices, the speeding and overtaking vehicles, the motorists casually running red lights, the pedestrians jumping into traffic or hopping off moving buses—all this isn’t, unfortunately, an expression of the chaos and bustle of street life celebrated in some accounts of the subcontinent, but rather a sign of a shocking flippancy and pointless bravado.”
The trouble with road safety enforcement in India is that it is a low priority item for policymakers. It is buttressed by our huge tolerance of death and injury on our roads. Perhaps that has to do with our outlook of fatalism and detachment. Else there should be rage against those who recklessly mow down people on the road. There should be vociferous demands for better laws and stricter policing. But none of that happens. Because we are a country where an actor who drives over sleeping pavement dwellers thrives on and gets into the Rs.100 crore club of Bollywood.

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Oman Road Safety Association participates in awareness seminar on traffic safety

Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA), the first and only registered non-governmental road safety organisation, recently participated in an awareness seminar organised by Team ‘Suroor’ as part of the ‘Your Safety Your Happiness’ campaign at Suroor School for Girls in the Wilayat of Samail.
In the presence of Royal Oman Police representatives, the seminar guests included students’ parents from a number of schools in the Wilayat as well as school bus drivers and teachers.

During her lecture on road safety awareness, Shaima Murtadha Al Lawati, ORSA Chief Executive Officer, stated the objectives of the association and its diverse range of activities. She also emphasised on the role of the community in leveraging and activating partnerships between the association and general public to further educate individuals on traffic etiquette and practices.

Shaima Al Lawati also touched upon the role of the Sultanate in activating the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020 which was officially launched on 5th March 2010. The Sultanate continues to develop its national plan to coordinate and implement activities supporting road safety at local, regional and international levels.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety offers a common road map for reaching the ambitious goal of reducing road traffic fatalities globally by 50 per cent. The implementation plan is guided by key pillars which include better road-safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road-user behaviour and better post-crash care.

Al Lawati added that basic principles and guidelines should be reintroduced especially in regards to speed control by saying, “Speed control and managements aims to decrease the number of traffic accidents and reduce serious injuries and deaths caused by reckless driving. Such an initiative would require a commitment by both public and private sectors to reinforce existing Government laws, overall infrastructure and further strengthen knowledge and raise awareness on this vital issue of concern.”

She added, “Our joint commitment and dedication towards deterring people from speeding will further reinforce the rules we must abide to as lawful citizens. In order to achieve such objectives we need to continue educating local communities and arming them with the knowledge advocacy tools required.” In line with the seminar’s agenda, Abdullah Juma Al Ghailani, Director of Traffic Department in Samail, also gave a lecture on road safety awareness.

ORSA was registered at the Ministry of Social Development on March 15th 2010. Its key activities involve training and capacity building, organising walks, and raising awareness campaigns targeting the general public as well as carrying out sustainable projects and surveys on road safety in partnership with a number of organisations.

Launched in October 2012, the traffic safety campaign currently being rolled out by Team ‘Suroor’ includes a number of awareness activities for youth on traffic laws and regulations.

The team’s objectives aim to serve the community through awareness initiatives and road safety education and transforming youth into ambassadors for the cause.

The campaign encourages youth to be active volunteers and community members who shed light on safe driving.

The seminar represents one of Oman Road Safety Association’s (ORSA) strategies to partner with fellow organisations to advocate for traffic safety and communicate the importance of awareness campaigns.

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NGO Launches Crusade Against Drunk Driving

An NGO has launched a campaign to make people, especially youth, aware of the vulnerability of drunken driving, especially in the festive season. The festive season is considered to be the most dangerous as it witnesses the maximum number of fatal accidents, which rise relatively with the increase in sales of alcohol.

A campaign against drunken driving has been launched by Campaign Against Drunken Driving to reach out to the common man with the message of “don’t drink and drive” this season. Beginning December 7, as a part of the National Road Safety Week, the campaign will culminate on January 7.
CADD founder Prince Singhal said, “The rising liquor sales and the incidents of drunk driving tragedies is a proof that it is on a rise, thus this campaign has been put in place to constantly remind road users not to drink and drive.” “People in the age group of 15 to 50 years will be targeted, right from school students to pub goers,” he added.
According to the statistics, every year about 1,42,000 people are killed in road accidents in India, of which drunk driving kills over a lakh on New Year’s eve. Hence, the rate of fatal accidents increases by 22-25 per cent.
The campaign would incorporate various activities that would also include, presentation of a one-minute film and a song stay alive, don’t drink and drive that would be played across pubs. Besides these, the campaign would also organise community walk in various parts of Delhi and youth cycle rally in North and South campuses of Delhi University.

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