Editorial

Inadequate and Flawed

By reader

September 11, 2018

Jammu & Kashmir has moved to an automated software-based solution on road accident data. The automated software-based solution called the Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) has been commissioned by Motor Vehicles Department to create a platform for on-the-spot collection of standard and accurate road accident data immediately after a mishap. On the face of it, the RADMS can lead to a better collection of data and thereby information regarding accidents; if this holds, then this particular data or information management system would be a useful statistical interface or even device. But, this begs the question: will it lead to prevention and pre emption of accidents? The answer is: just to some extent. In the final analysis, the cause(s) of accidents are too broad and too complex to be pigeon holed into a randomized information management system. Mostly and often times, accidents are caused by human behavior which includes error, speeding, breaching and non observance of rules, road rage, drunk driving, carelessness, negligence and so on. Will the RADMS help or assist in remedying these? No is the answer. The RADMS can help detect statistical patterns into the nature, prevalence and incidence of accidents. However, it can help, to an extent, prevention of accidents if the data obtained will be used as an input for policy making for road safety which, as the intensity and volume of traffic grows in Kashmir, has become a matter of grave concern here. Ultimately, what can constitute a determinative and significant impact in terms of preventing road accidents and fatalities thereof is a stakeholder approach towards road safety. The components of this approach must be education of commuters, vehicle owners and users, drivers, transporters and assorted people. The gravamen of the education in contention must be to make people aware of road safety and everything associated with it. The issue then is of the nature of a supply side one (and not a demand side issue). That is, when and if people, who, at the end of the day are the users of public spaces like roads and also its victims, when accidents happen, fully imbibe the lessons of road usage and safety, can there be a reduction in accidents and fatalities thereof. Any approach other than this can only mean tinkering which will not amount to much in terms of the desired goal of reducing road accidents and fatalities. What must be borne in mind is that technology can be a mere complement and not the sole thrust of a given approach. It is people that matter.