ALAPPUZHA: The accident in which a journalist K.M. Baheer was killed when his bike was hit by a speeding car driven by a drunken bureaucrat Sriram Venkitaraman in Thiruvananthapuram in the wee hours of Saturday is the latest instance to prove how unsafe the roads in Kerala are due to several reasons, including utter violation of traffic rules by everyone concerned, especially government officials.
According to Upendra Narayanan, traffic safety expert, the incident showed the sheer arrogance of an IAS officer who thought he could get away with the offence. Common people are slapped with hefty fines even for failing to wear helmets. The safety of pedestrians is still neglected. Pedestrian are at risk due to the behaviour of drivers, lack of infrastructure like sidewalks, raised crosswalks, medians, incompetence of traffic police and encro-achments. The state needs a comprehensive and holistic approach, including enforcement, engineering and education, to avoid loss of human lives, he said.
As per the government data, over 4,000 people die on the roads in the state every year, ie 11 per day, while the figure for the country as a whole is 1.5 lakh a year. India had signed the Brasilia Dec-laration in 2015 to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 percent by 2020.
The WHO has set ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020’ to save 5 million lives worldwide, and called on 100 countries, including India, to take concrete action to improve the safety of pedestrians....