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Driving discipline needs to be inculcated early

Gopinath Munde died in the early hours of Tuesday morning in a car crash in New Delhi. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was going to the capital’s airport when another car crashed into his vehicle.

The injured Munde went into cardiac arrest and doctors were unable to revive him. While where it happened is not integral to this editorial, how it happened is. We are slipping into anarchy when it comes to driving discipline on our roads.

While one would tend to agree that roads in Mumbai and other cities too, need much improvement, drivers too need to adhere to rules, stop breaking signals, be more alert, stop talking on cellular phones and have greater respect for pedestrian and fellow driver alike. One cannot stress enough on the importance of a seatbelt, which is often neglected by those in the back seat.

Reckless city roads
In Mumbai, our cabs do not even have seat belts on the back seat. The traffic police are at the end of their tether about telling people to wear helmets, on two-wheelers. In a situation akin to people who sit at the back in the car, pillion riders in the country also do not wear helmets.

Some time ago, this paper carried an in-depth piece about how Mumbai, once held as a jewel in the commuting crown, has now lost its sheen. Once considered a disciplined city for drivers and proud of the fact that its motorists stuck to rules, today we see Mumbai does not have the discipline in driving that it did before.

Signals are broken, and in general we have the might is right rule in the city. Driving discipline needs to be inculcated early, right at the learning stage. There has to be a crackdown on corruption at several RTOs. This is to ensure that one begins on the right note.

Bending rules to get a licence should invite the strictest penalties. Drivers have to be imbued with a greater sense of responsibility and realise that rash driving, speed thrills and idiotic roadie stunts are for reel life, and not real life.

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