With the recent deaths of two children in the city through unfortunate
circumstances, the grim reality of the dangerous nature of our streets
is increasingly becoming more and more apparent.
The death of a 13-year-old boy while riding in an auto to his school
has thrown the spotlight on the dangers of overcrowding vehicles. The
newspapers are all filled with reports on how the police have swooped
down on auto-drivers, and have been charging them fines for carrying
more than the allowed number of children.
The effort is laudable, but I get the feeling that we are being more
“reactive” than “proactive” here. The RTA in the city need to be
proactive in making the streets safer for both the pedestrians and
travellers. This will need a major shift in the way they work and
approach road safety.
From where I stand I can immediately see a few things that need to be
1. Focus should be on ensuring good driving. The RTA is today getting
away with standing at safe corners and “challaning” people who dont
carry the proper documentation. It is very ironic to see a policeman
fine a person for carrying only a photocopy of his insurance papers,
when all around him people are cutting lane without using indicators,
and overtaking from the left.
2. Use technology. The RTA today issues licenses on plastic cards. I
am sure that it is just a small step away to convert them to smart
cards. The policemen can then award negative points to erring drivers.
There should be a cut-off and when a driver has “accumalated”
sufficient points, the license should be revoked.
3. Stricted norms should govern auto-drivers, bus drivers, taxi
drivers and truck drivers. They spend more time than any others on the
road and bad driving habits by them translate to more deaths.
4. Clear pavements and ensure that people use the pavements to walk
and are not forced to walk on the roads due to hawkers.
5. Enforce pedestrian crossings and heavily fine drivers who flout
pedestrian crossing rules.
6. Tax petrol heavily. This will force more people to use the MMTS.
What we need now are tough decisions. We look to you as our leader for
strong no-nonsense decisions.
I hope and pray you will be able to make those decisions.