Editorial: Road fatalities

One of the major concern in a developing country like India is the rising road fatalities. Even though this issue has been one of the closest guarded secrets so far but statistics reveal that on an average 400 people die every day during various road mishaps.

The situation is no different in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state recorded the highest percentage of unnatural deaths occurring due to road accidents over the past many years.

According to National Crime Records Bureau around 64 percent deaths due to un-natural causes in Jammu & Kashmir are due to road accidents alone. The state loses around 1000 people every year to road mishaps and the injuries suffered by the people in these mishaps runs into thousands.

What is also alarming is that the state stands at number one as far as the deaths by unnatural causes is concerned. Nagaland in north east occupies the second position where 53.2 percent of all unnatural deaths are caused by road accidents. The All India percentage remains around 37 percent.

Interestingly, the rate of accidental deaths per 1000 vehicles in Jammu and Kashmir is 1.1 percents as against the All India average of 0.9 percents.

What seems more worrisome is the governmentís lackadaisical attitude over this crisis like situation. Indian which witnesses around 1.5 lakh deaths every year to road mishaps has shown some initiative as the Union road transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has set a goal of reducing road fatalities by 50% by 2020.

However, we are yet to evolve a strategy to get things working on ground.

The death toll in road accidents in our State is much higher in ratio in comparison to many other states. We assign the prime reason for this phenomenon to the hilly tracks and dangerous turns through which our highways have to pass. However, we are aware that most of our drivers are without official licenses and more often than not they undertake to drive the bus loaded with passengers.

Possession of fake license to the tune of thirty per cent, an admission by the Union Transport Minister himself makes the situation more alarming. What needs to be stressed is the fact that the process of issuing of driving licenses needs to be overhauled immediately. 

From the incumbent applicant for the driving certificate from accredited authorities of the Government, the traffic police functionaries, licenses issuing authorities and the Transport Department all are involved and responsible for giving rise to proliferation of fake license.

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