CHENNAI: In a bid to improve awareness on road safety, an umbrella group of NGOs joined hands to conduct campaigns at 100 traffic signals across the city on Sunday.
At an event held near the Ashok Pillar junction, Thozhan, the NGO that spearheads the initiative, handed out leaflets and offered road safety tips to motorists. Joining in the act was Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), South, S Lakshmi, who interacted with a few motorists not wearing helmets and seat belts and advised them to follow road rules, while handing out the leaflets.
“We mark our Independence Day in remembrance of the great leaders whose deaths granted us our freedom,” said Lakshmi.
“But sadly, today we mourn more deaths due to negligence on roads and speeding. One’s death should be to change history and not for the roads,” she added.
According to statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, road accidents continue to be the biggest contributor to accidental deaths in India. Of the four, 43,001 accident cases reported across the nation in 2013, Tamil Nadu contributed 66,238 cases — a 15 per cent share.
Nearly one-fourth of the road accident victims rode a two-wheeler. Among the big cities of the country, Chennai recorded the highest number with 9,705 road traffic accident cases that injured 8,700 persons and resulted in 1,247 deaths. It is followed by Delhi with 6,566 cases (5,637 injuries and 1,530 deaths) and Bengaluru with 5,215 cases, leaving 4,334 injured and 752 dead.
“In other crimes, people think that if they behave in a civilised manner, they will stay out of trouble, which is true. But, when it comes to road safety, sensibility should be applied not just by the individual, but also by other road users and the pedestrians. One misguided moment can be fatal,” she added.
Stating that innocent youngsters were losing their lives in road accidents, Thozhan founder Radhakrishnan said that observing simple rules and reducing speed would go a long way in reducing accidents on city roads.
“We are a country that loses more human lives in accidents than terrorism,” said Radhakrishnan.
“We lose so many youngsters to tragic road accidents,” he added.
Nearly 3000 volunteers took part in the process organising mimes and engaging in one-on-one conversations with motorists, as well as handing out pamphlets.