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Road safety: A growing concern3 min read

May 8, 2015 3 min read

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Road safety: A growing concern3 min read

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Manipal: Since the beginning of this year, Manipal has witnessed the imposition of strict rules to handle drug abuse among the students of Manipal University (MU) but issues like road safety haven’t been given enough importance. The recent death of a student of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), caused due to his bike ramming into the divider,  reminds us that road safety doesn’t just mean following traffic signals.

Human errors are said to be the major cause for majority of road accidents. Though drunken driving is what strikes our mind, wrong judgements of the driver in any state-of-mind can be equally dangerous.  Commenting at this, Mr. Arun Kumar Singh, Regional Transport Officer (R.T.O), Udupi District, said, “People are always in a hurry while driving. This often leads to wrong judgements. Also, the mechanics of vehicles are always neglected. Each vehicle has a different brake. The driver must know when to pull the brake to avoid accidents. The driver must be able to anticipate. Good quality driving is important.”  Mr. Singh further stated that defects in the vehicle and component failure can also cause many accidents. “Maintenance of vehicles should not be neglected”, he added.

Helmets are not compulsory in Manipal because of the less vehicle strength. Bringing in the rule can help save head injuries, most of which are fatal. Touching upon the medical aspect, Kasturba Hospital, Manipal recorded 69 patients with head injuries in the month of March and 68 in April 2015.  While very few patients were students of MU, most of them hail from different parts of the district, like Karkala, and also different parts of the State, like Hubli and Shimoga. Dr. Girish Menon, Professor and Head of Department, Neurosurgery, Kasturba Medical College & Hospital, said, “Delay in transportation of the patient from the site of the accident to the hospital can makes the case more severe. Spinal injuries can get aggravated. The assistants and technicians need to be very careful while lifting and transporting the patient. Delay in treatment can also be harmful for the patient. Time is brain for us Neurosurgeons. Losing time is equivalent to losing the brain. Even if there is a suspected mild head injury, one must visit a doctor and get it treated immediately.”

Apart from damaging the body, a lot of money goes out of the pocket for all the medical treatment because of a silly mistake.  Also, the victim and suspect go through a number of court hearings, which go on for years. If proven guilty, the fine may cost up to lakhs of Rupees, which isn’t affordable for many. Another problem that can occur is with the issuing of Driving Licenses. A license that takes over 2 months to get approved, with a lot of running around to do and high fees to pay can be suspended for years by the R.T.O if proven guilty at the court. Apart from that, each offence has its own punishment. For example, a fine of Rs. 1000 is charged for using noisy silencers in bikes while a fine of Rs. 500 is charged for using the license during the period of disqualification. The Assistant R.T.O said, “Everyone knows the law but nobody follows it. Rules and signs are not meant to be known just to get a license. It must be practiced and followed always. In a place like Manipal, students drive rashly. Parents should become a little stricter with their kids. After all, it is their precious lives which are at stake.”

Recently, a nation-wide bandh was organized by labour unions on April 30 against the Road Transport and Safety Bill 2015, which is yet to be passed by the Central Government. The draft bill assures proper implementation of laws to reduce number of road accidents but proposes to allow multinational companies to operate buses across the country and charges heftier fines for many offences.

Edited by Gargi Kerkar