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Friday, October 22, 2010

Death On Wheels

If one goes by the scenes on Pune's road, there is no such thing called traffic sense in the dictionary. There is hardly any day when city's roads do no witness accident. Many unfortunate people lost their lives on Pune's roads. Rash and senseless driving is foremost of the reasons behind these hitherto avoidable loss of lives.


The latest incident involved 22 year old architectuere student Aditi Jagtap as one that of rash driving. Her Mercedes car on the Salunke Vihar road on Sep 14 evening, hit down four motorcycles, a rickshaw, a car and a PMPML bus. Aditi is daughter of noted cardiologist Ranjeet Jagtap.

She was arrested under sections 279 (reckless driving) and 338 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code and 119 and 177 (failing to stop after accident) of the Motor Vehicle act.

Aditi's case is not an isolated one, but it can serve as an eyopener for the parents who do not think twice before giving control of the vehicles to their immature offsprings, who more often than not are college going students. Fortunately, in the case of Aditi, none lost life. But such luck is not guaranteed to everybody facing such accidents in city.

A report prepared by Janwani, the non-governmental branch of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture shows how a drive through the four-arm junction on University Road around 7 pm with your 20-something son at the wheel is a perfect recipe for disaster.

Based on accident reports filed by the traffic police between June and January, Janwani came up with results showing that young drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 years caused the most number of accidents in the city. Earlier statistical analysis of mishaps in 2008 reveals that the age group of 21-30 years is the most vulnerable to mishaps, two wheelers most accident prone and weekends are most fatal, especially for men.

According to statistics with the traffic police, 2,270 accidents took place in the city during 2008. Of these, 458 were fatal, claiming 477 lives. Besides there were 531 accidents which left 634 persons seriously injured and 1,086 other mishaps in which 1,256 people suffered bruises and minor injuries. In addition to this, there were 195 more accidents in which nobody was hurt.

Presumably, men were worst hit than women and children. Out of 477 deaths, 363 victims were men. In most mishaps, 159 of the 477 people killed in mishaps belonged to the age group of 21-30 years.

And 258 people in this age group were seriously injured while 503 escaped with bruises and minor injuries. Two-wheelers were involved in 218 of the 458 fatal accidents, 274 of the 531 serious accidents and 499 of the 1,086 minor accidents. What was more troublesome was the observation that emerged from the study: our city roads are more dangerous for young generation than our highways. A whopping 75 per cent of the accidents in the region are reported from within the city. The city, which boasted on its historic past, has come a long way from from its previous glory. The lush green environs have been replaced by traffic signals which nobody heeds to, pleasant climatic conditions have given way to worrying irregularity of rains and fresh, pollution-free air has been replaced with smoke coming out of roaring vehicles.

Chandmal Parmar is the pioneer activist working in the field of reducing the traffic safety. The twice national award winner lost his daughter Rajashree in a road accident on Nov. 17, 1989. That personal tragedy turned him into a crusader for the road safety so as to save others from future loss. As the chairman of Transport Committee of MCCIA, he says, “Absence of discipline on the traffic is major cause of growing numbers of accidents. Girls are equally responsibly for this. To reduce the risk of accidents on our roads, discipline in ourselves, along with measures from the government are the need of hour.” Going by the attitude towards traffic and passenger safety in India, this seems to be a long affair

Statistics

377 Fatal accidents in 2009

458 Fatal Accidents in 2008

387 deaths in 2009

477 deaths in 2008

26,00,000 vehicles in city in 2009

23,53,441 vehicles in city in 2008

519 accidents in 2009

531 accidents in 2008

577 injured in accidents in 2009

531 injured in accidents 2008

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