Yet another accident at Ramban on the Srinagar-Jammu highway consumed a few more precious lives. While the authorities suggest a slew of measures to reduce the number of accidents and loss of life in such fatal accidents on the highway, nothing seems to be moving. According to official data, three persons are killed and twenty-five sustain injuries in road accidents on a daily basis in the state. Shockingly, 3,595 persons have lost their lives in 19,444 road accidents during the past three years. During the same period 28,246 persons sustained injuries. The data further reveals that in the year 2010, a total of 6,142 accident cases were registered, claiming 1,029 lives besides leaving 8,945 injured. Moreover, during 2011, a total of 6,665 accidents were reported claiming 1,140 lives and injuring 10,092 persons, while in the year 2012, a total of 6,637 cases were reported, claiming 1,426 lives besides injuring 9,209 persons. The data makes clear that road accidents have claimed more lives than militancy, especially in the past three years. The traffic police blame rash driving, overloading and violation of other traffic rules for the accidents. Most of the road accident victims are college and school going youth bikers, who seldom reduce their speed even on bad road stretches. A top official of the concerned department while expressing his helplessness sought cooperation from civil society to curb the growing menace. Yes, the traffic police alone cannot do much. All have to rise to the occasion to save precious lives.
Part of the reason that so many accidents take place is the easy availability of driving licenses in the RTO office in lieu of some consideration. This has to be checked. Licenses should be issued to persons who qualify the criterion fixed by the experts. And before issuing licenses, the candidate must be made aware of traffic rules. This must be followed by a total ban on purchase of new vehicles for five years. Thanks to car loans offered by the banks, owning a car has now become very easy. The increasing number of vehicles on the state roads is in no way an indicator of development. It reflects the shortcomings in government policy. Unless the state has the roads to cater to growing traffic, the purchase of new vehicles should be banned. The civil society has a vital role to play. It can raise its voice against overloading and parking of vehicles on busy roads. The concerned department also needs to upgrade its infrastructure. By installing cameras at various places, over speeding and other traffic violations can be checked to a great extent. This is how developed countries regulate traffic. Primitive tools cannot make the roads safe. There has to be some modernisation and upgradation of the system.