Tuesday , 17 September 2019

How Safe are we on Our Roads?

Poor infrastructure, weak laws, erratic driving behaviour: Rasmeet Kohli, Managing Director, Envoys

The basic reason for lack of road safety is multiple authorities. We need to have a centralised agency which must prepare specifications after a detailed study as per Indian environment, requirement, financial implications for easy adaptability and acceptance by system integrators /concessionaires. The agency must then standardise these specifications. Our standards are always adopted on project to project basis. They are biased either towards the product manufacturers or towards the consultants. Above all, there is no road discipline in India especially with respect to lane driving and the punishments are very less. The enforcement law should be so strong that no motorist should dare violate it. Only then can we see the difference. The right driving behaviour should be inculcated right from the school level as intolerance leads to road rages and indiscipline. Though difficult to accept, the fact is that we are considered most unplanned and indisciplined humans on the planet — we just find easy way to complete the task.

Not only are our laws inadequate, but our enforcement agencies are inefficient too. There is an absence of willingness to do something. There are no policies / prevention plans for current as well as future requirements.

We need to balance technology as per the infrastructure requirement and the allocated funds / budget. Though the technology deployed is improving, poor infrastructure and weak enforcement laws combined with erratic driving behaviour of motorists render all the efforts unsuccessful.

Several helpful technologies are available but in the current scenario, the most important task is to maintain and operate the already operational technologies. The technology must be identified by keeping the future requirement and its easy adaptability to the upgradation process in mind. The technology which will discipline the traffic and supplement the efforts of the law enforcement agencies shall be the most suitable.

The enforcement agencies must expect the standard central agency to first fabricate specifications as per the requirement and standardise them, with easy interchangeability of hardware and software protocol so that if the solution providers? performance doesn?t fall within the acceptable limits, the enforcement agency can get them replaced by another provider without getting blackmailed by the previous provider. This will ensure that solution providers deliver good work and performance.

Solution providers, too, expect the decision makers to have a willingness to perform without being biased and implement the decisions. We lose a lot of time in discussions without reaching a final outcome. A centralised decision making body must look at every best solution provided by the solution providers positively. All the related agencies must be well coordinated to overcome the present turmoil. It is because of these many loopholes in our system that we are nowhere near the developed countries.

Decision makers should opt for genuine quality products: Kamal Mittal, Director, Aktion Safety Solutions Pvt ltd

Many technologies are available that can be very helpful for safety on the roads. We can use electronic devices to predict the presence/absence of road safety items in the areas which are more prominent to road accidents such as the highways. Through this, we can easily judge the needs for the safety devices. Also, surveys can be conducted to find out the frequency of accidents at various spots so that the exact solution can be provided. For e.g., some accidents occur due to blind or merging routes which can be tackled by providing convex mirrors or solar delineators. Accidents also take place due to the absence of signages and road safety items like barriers and cones. For these, the solution is obvious ? we must provide these items.

Video based vehicle detection too can be used, particularly with the existing traffic control systems. Traffic incident detection and driver warning systems can also be used to alert drivers. For this, intelligent highways can be developed. Moreover, expert systems to improve the identification of traffic hazards and selection of appropriate counter measures can be undertaken.

Enforcement agencies expect the solution providers to provide products with high standards and performance. Solution providers, on the other hand, want the decision makers to go for quality products which can perform at the time of accidents and not for those which only ?pretend? to be safety items. Also, it should be mandatory to issue adequate funds in the interest of Road Safety.

A check-up should be organised at regular intervals by the authorised bodies to detect the presence/absence of road safety items. This will help to analyse the need on time.

Better co-operation among all the agencies is necessary: Iqbal Singh Jagdeva, Managing Director, Turbo Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd

Rules and laws were framed by Central and State Governments long time back. However, since then, the traffic scenario has changed a lot. There has been a sharp rise in the price index due to increase in the price of all commodities. Also, though the income of people has increased manifold, the enforcement (e.g., challan) value has not changed much. Sometimes it becomes easier for a violator to give just ?100 for breaking the traffic rules. If this penalty is increased drastically, road users will be forced to think many times before violating the rules. There should be tougher penalties for repetition of the violation, besides the provision of cancellation of the licence.

Although the latest technology and solutions are entering India from the international market, majority of the population does not believe in abiding by the rules and regulations. People require education to be made aware of the rules and the need to obey them. Providing the latest technology will not be sufficient to change the mindset of the road users.

The number of personnel of police and other enforcement agencies is not sufficient for using the latest technologies and products. Training workshops or courses should be organised for the operators / users once the new equipment is purchased. However, in most of the police departments, the operators who are once acquainted with the working of the equipment, are shifted to other departments at regular intervals, forcing the need to train the new operators once again.

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