Deadly roads, rising death toll

Road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir kill more people than some epidemics, but the Central and the State governments refuse to see it for what it is – a national crisis. Significantly, the counts for deaths and injuries in accidents are viewed as less than accurate.
The recent ghastly road accident in Reasi that claimed 21 lives was another instance of avoidable deaths on our highways. Moreover, 25 people were killed and over 40 injured in two separate road accidents near Reasi and Rajouri. 22 passengers were killed and nearly 30 others including women and children were injured when a 42-seater passenger bus fell into a 300 ft deep gorge. While nearly a dozen people died on the spot, others succumbed to their injuries on way to the district hospital at Reasi.
This is not the first time that road accidents have claimed lives in Jammu, the roads here in this hilly region is highly dangerous and in addition to that the drivers are arbitrarily taking advantage of slack traffic department and local administration.
The matter of contemplation is how could, despite strong police department, these drivers manage to continue with over loading.
There are several matters on which the government has to reckon, which included no vehicle older than six years should be allowed to ply on hilly roads, all the permits should be issued after taking in written from the owner of the vehicle that not even a single passenger would be over loaded. The Regional Transport Office has to ensure that license should be provided to those drivers who have good knowledge of the traffic rules. The police administration has to keep eye on the movement of vehicles and they should not contain their duties only upto generating money for the department.
In addition to all this, the government has to work on the road stretching and road safety areas, which included maintaining and renovation of dilapidated roads, installation of road safety boards along the highways, especially on curves.
According to government, over 2,400 persons were killed and 21,335 others injured in as many as 25,551 road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir in the past two-and-a-half years, prompting the authorities to chalk out a strategy to deal with the problem.
While 506 persons lost their lives in 3,221 road accidents up to July this year, as many as 992 persons were killed in 5,861 cases last year and 990 others in 6,469 accidents in 2013.
A series of measures are need to be taken to minimise the occurrence of road accidents, ensure free flow of traffic particularly in the cities of Jammu and Srinagar and enforcement of traffic rules.
Licenses of erring drivers, especially of Public Service Vehicles, must be recommended for cancellation to the concerned Regional Transport Officers or Assistant RTOs in order to curb the tendency of rash and negligent driving, overloading, over-speeding by habitual offenders.

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