VELLORE: The seventy-seat capacity compact hall looks like a corporate mini-conference hall. The chill air blowing from the air conditioners is a relief for those occupying the seats after spending time on the test track under the scorching sun. Most of them look young.
They move to the edge of the seats when they watch a video which shows how lane jumping snuffs out the lives of motorists. “Oh! My God,” they say in a hushed voice.
This is the scene at the road safety auditorium functioning in the premises of the Regional Transport Office in Vellore city. The state-of-the-art facility is the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu, established to educate motorists on road rules and safe driving.
“The road safety auditorium was established under the Road Safety Funds. It has been functioning from April this year. We hold lectures and screen videos on road accidents and safe driving,” N Ramakrishnan, Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Vellore city, told Express.
The session lasts for forty minutes in two batches. Test drive candidates applying for licences and applicants for vehicle registration are asked to sit down for the short duration awareness programme.
Ramakrishnan noted that the initiative was taken as per the instructions of the Transport Commissioner C Samayamoorthy who is keen on reducing road accidents and fatalities in the state.
“The videos show how rash driving can cost one's life. Indeed, it is enlightening for me because I could learn the true meaning of road markings, traffic signals, warnings and discipline,” said Murugan, an applicant for vehicle registration.
The innovative programme on road safety awareness inculcates a sense of responsibility among the motorists as well.
Vijayalakshmi, who walked into the RTO office premises for getting her new two-wheeler registered, said, “After listening to the lectures and seeing the videos, I really wonder how some people can give such scant respect to road rules. I have decided never to violate the rules.”
About 100 people visit the Vellore RTO office for vehicle registration every day and up to 70 men come for licences.
A simulator is also used for showing how the impact of an accident is bigger for overspeeding vehicles.
The major factors that contribute to road fatalities are drunken driving, lane jumping, overspeeding and using cellphones while driving. "If we are able to drive home the message of road rules and safe driving among those who come for licence and registration, it will go a long way in bringing down the number of deaths on the road," an officer noted.