On the day that Bangalore Development Minister K.J. George said that all the road accidents over the last week could not be attributed to potholes alone, senior traffic officers gave a contrarian view. Many traffic police officers claimed that at least half of the accidents in Bengaluru are due to bad roads. The remaining, for the most part, is because of rash and negligent driving.
“Bad road engineering, made worse due to incessant rains that we’ve been seeing, is the cause for 50% of the accidents. Many key roads have been rendered unmotorable,” said a traffic police officer.
With the situation becoming increasingly politicised and the Chief Minister pulling up the civic body for its inability to solve the problem, police officers spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity.
The Road Accidents in India Report of 2015 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways noted that in Karnataka, the number of fatalities in road accidents was 10,856 and injuries was 56,971. While 465 accidents and 82 deaths in the State were caused due to the road being under repair/construction, 248 accidents occurred because of ‘loose surface’, resulting in 55 deaths. Another 182 accidents were caused by potholes.
Prof. M.N. Sreehari , traffic advisor and consultant, blamed apathy and the inability of the police to book civic agencies. “Though there is a provision for the traffic police to book civic agencies for negligence. The police are not doing it regularly,” he said.
Even as the blame game continues, there is little immediate relief for motorists and pedestrians.
How to make roads safer
In her report to the select committee examining the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety D. Roopa submitted 16 points for the safe movement of traffic, including making the civic agencies concerned criminally liable in case of accidental deaths due to bad roads. Other highlights:
* Punishment for hit-and-run case should be increased
* City municipal corporations, while giving approval for building plans, should ensure that the road on which the building is coming up can take the traffic load
* Parking space should be mandatory during registration of vehicles. Those who have provision for parking space should only be allowed for registration
Deaths since October 3
October 10: Kavitha, 20, who was riding pillion, was killed and the rider was injured after the duo slipped and fell on the road while negotiating a bad stretch near Shettarahalli Gate in Devanahalli. Kavitha was run over by a truck. Her sister Vijayalakshmi escaped with minor injuries
October 8: Radha, 47, who was riding pillion came under the wheels of a truck when her nephew Ravi Kumar lost control of the scooter while negotiating a bad stretch at Nayandahalli junction. Ravi sustained injuries
October 3: A couple was killed and their grandson was injured when a Tamil Nadu-bound bus hit their motorcycle on the busy K.R. Market flyover when the rider was trying to negotiate a bad stretch..