Rejoice For The State, Lament For The District: Andhra Pradesh’s Improvement In Road Safety Eludes The District Of Guntur
New Delhi: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari launched the 29th edition of National Road Safety Week on April 23 with the theme of ‘Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha’ (Road Safety – Protects Life). To celebrate road safety week and highlight the importance of following basic road safety rules, various states have planned numerous activities. The sole aim of which is to make people aware and reduce number of road accidents and road fatalities. The eight largest state of India, Andhra Pradesh has also geared up for the week. Though the number of road accidents and deaths in Andhra Pradesh in the year 2017 witnessed a slight decline as compared to 2016, but still there is a long way to go.
According to the data provided by the transport department of Andhra Pradesh, in 2016, 21,759 accidents took place in the state in which 7,838 people lost their lives where as in 2017, 20,605 accidents and 7,381 deaths were recorded. Though there has been a decline in the number of accidents, but there are areas in the state which have seen a rise in the accidents like Guntur.
In 2016, while rural areas of Guntur recorded 1254 road accidents, 586 deaths and 1,386 injuries, urban recorded 861 accidents, and 315 road accident deaths and 900 road accident injuries. In 2017, rural areas witnessed 1,343 road accidents, 574 deaths and 1,678 injuries whereas urban areas recorded 775 accidents, 254 road accident deaths and 774 injuries. The figures clearly show a sharp rise in the number of accidents especially in rural areas.
On analysis of data, it has been found that there has been a decrease in the number of vehicle accidents, deaths and injuries in Guntur urban police district, which comprises of Guntur city and most part of capital region. But, there has been an increase in vehicle accidents, deaths and injuries in Guntur rural police district, says G C Raja Ratnam, Deputy Tranport Commissioner, Guntur.
If we dig deep, there has been a decrease in the number of accidents in all categories of vehicles except two categories which is two-wheelers and three wheelers. In case of two-wheelers, number of accidents increased abnormally from 336 in 2016 to 430 in 2017 and in case of three-wheelers, road accidents increased from 173 in 2016 to 186 in 2017.
Explaining the reason behind the increase in number of road accidents, G C Raja Ratnam said,
In most parts of Guntur district, especially in Palnadu area comprising Narasaraopet, Piduguralla, Macherla, Tenali rural aNd many more, most of the people work as agricultural labourers and they make use of autos, two-wheelers, light goods vehicles for transportation form home to fields. Despite booking repeated cases and counselling, they are using the same unsafe mode of transport due to unavailability of service from home to field and as a result accidents are happening.
Four E’s For A Safer Tomorrow
To bring down the number of road accidents, deaths and injuries, in Guntur, the transport department has adopted multi-pronged strategy. The department is working on four E’s which are-
1. Enforcement – The district has booked the highest number of cases in the state during the last financial year. Enforcing the laws, the officials of the transport department of the district booked 42,367 cases, which is the second highest in the state. Some 1200 cases were booked against drunken driving.
2. Education – Focused towards educating and spreading awareness among citizens, the department has and is conducting awareness programs for drivers, sensitising people on road safety.
3. Engineering – When it comes to road accidents, road engineering plays a pivotal role. To ensure safer roads, the district has completed road safety audit of National Highways, passing through the district from Kanaka Durgamma Vaaradhi to Boppudi and measures have been taken to rectify the geometric defects. Similar steps have been taken for State Highways.
4. Emergency Care – The department has sanctioned Rs. 20 lakhs for development of the second trauma care unit in the district at Narasaraopet.
Since, road safety week is underway (April 23- April 30), transport department has planned numerous things for Guntur district. From sensitisation programmes for heavy vehicle riders through PPT, special checking on drunken driving, helmet rally, to booking cases on two wheelers riding without helmets by taking a photograph, the transport department has a long list of things planned.