THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: That the state saw fewer road accidents in 2017 gave out cause for optimism within the Police Department. Though the start to 2018 has not been all that auspicious, state police chief Loknath Behera said in a statement the various awareness programmes implemented by the department did bring about certain positive changes.In comparison to 2016, the total number of accident deaths reported in Thiruvananthapuram city, Thiruvananthapuram rural, Alappuzha, Ernakulam rural, Idukki, Thrissur city, Thrissur rural, Malappuram, Kozhikode rural, Wayanad and Kasargod was lower in 2017.
The number of people critically injured in accidents was also reportedly lesser in Thiruvananthapuram city, Thiruvananthapuram rural, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam city, Thrissur rural, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode city, Kozhikode rural, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod police districts. “Initiatives, including Subhayatra and Save Our Fellow Traveller (SOFT) under the state police, succeeded in reducing accidents in the state to a large extent,” Behera said.
“SOFT also won national recognition. Besides, proper surveillance by the police via CCTV cameras and interceptors also helped in reducing the number of accidents.” Last year, during a year-end meeting, Behera instructed fellow policemen to initiate appropriate measures to bring down the number of accidents in 2018. The State Crime Records Bureau is yet to release the break-up of accidents, which will reveal the timing, road and class of vehicles involved in the accidents.
In a major initiative, Behera directed more CCTV cameras be installed on the national highway stretches. In the statement, the DGP also said he had given instructions to the district police chiefs to ensure the accidents rates are reduced to 10 per cent this year and to reduce it by 25 per cent in the next three years.
“The dip in accident rates and critical injuries in 2017 in comparison with 2016 was due to the round-the-clock surveillance by the CCTV cameras. So we will initiate proceedings to increase the number of cameras on either side of the national highways,” Behera said.
However, he also raised apprehensions the accident rates are quite consistent on state highways, city, town and village roads. Hence, he also instructed the police chiefs to intensify surveillance mechanisms at smaller roads.The recent spate of accidents saw an increase in the involvement of mini trucks and vans than heavy vehicles. Besides, 60 per cent of vehicles involved in accidents are two-wheelers. “The traffic personnel should take strict action against motorists not wearing seat belts and helmets,” the DGP said.
From the DGP’s desk
- Special surveillance be initiated at night to avoid drink-driving and sleep-driving
- Unauthorised parking be dealt with seriously
- Awareness sessions be conducted at schools and colleges
- District police chiefs to ensure road safety review meetings
- Accident zones to be marked to classify roads as special zones