THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: According to a report by the Kerala Road Safety department, a total of 40,181 accidents occurred in 2018 in the state and 11,048 accidents have been reported until March 2019.
According to the statistics compiled by the State Crime Records bureau, Thiruvananthapuram has recorded 536 cases until 2019 among which 57 people were killed, 494 suffered grievous injuries and 88, minor injuries. This is in contrast compared to the statistics in an entire year, 2018. Number of cases amount to 2306, 202 were killed, 2033 were grievously injured and 714 suffered minor injuries. This indicates the need to intensify awareness campaigns on road safety.
In order to reduce the number of road accidents and to ensure road accident victims receive medical attention on time, the state government had launched the Safe Kerala Project where a 24*7 enforcement squad enforces road laws and rescue operations in case of road accidents in the city. The increase in the number calls for a proper traffic management system according to traffic officials.
“The rise in the number of vehicles is one of the prime reasons for the increasing number of accidents in the city. The accident rate can be reduced only if people follow the traffic rules to some extent. Even if an enforcement team is appointed, it wouldn't make a difference unless rules are followed,” said Rajeev Puthalath, joint transport commissioner.
The city traffic police officers said a major percentage of vehicles involved in the accidents in the city are the light motor vehicles, especially two-wheelers driven by youngsters. “It is often observed negligence on the driver's part leads to accidents. The recent accident occurred in Kollam claimed three lives, overtaking being the reason,” said Rajeev.
The Safe Kerala Project is aimed at reducing the accident rate by 2020. However, it will take a while for the project to work in a full-fledged manner as the assistant police officers who are new recruits are being given field training. Besides this, control rooms also need to be set up. Eighty-five squads have been appointed in the state under the control of the RTO (Enforcement), out of which eight 24*7 enforcement squads have been appointed in Thiruvananthapuram. An RTO grade officer has been appointed the State nodal officer of the Safe Kerala Project under the direct supervision of the Joint Transport Commissioner (Reinforcement).
As per the order, the eight 24*7 squads spread across the city conduct regular inspections even after 8 pm to check road accidents and ensure the accident victims receive medical attention within the 'golden hour', which is one hour after the accident occurs. “ Regular inspections will be held in the city and a list of all the road accidents and the violations in road laws will be prepared by the squads which will be submitted to the transport commissioner (Enforcement) within six months.
The effectiveness of the project can be obtained once the list of road accidents is obtained,” said one of the enforcement squads. “We are conducting awareness campaigns for people to follow traffic rules,” said Rajeev. The squads have also been directed to conduct road audits on accident-prone areas and also identify trees, poles which supposedly pose threat to the traffic. The reports will then be submitted to the district road safety councils, Transport Commissioner, Road safety commissioner and the government every six months.