For party-wracked youth, authorities postpone safety drive from Jan 1

The run-up to New Year’s Eve has trotted out the annual road safety awareness campaigns organised by the authorities. But this year, the 15-day-long event will be inaugurated on January 3, instead of January 1, because the state transport department, which conducts the drive, has decided to give youngsters some cooling-off time after all that hectic carousing of New Year’s Eve.

The revision in the date comes after quite-a-few-years of consistently receiving poor turnouts at the function, which would be held on January 1. Sources said the most likely reason is that on January 1, the public at large, including the department’s target audience of school- and college-going youth, is too exhausted, having spent the night before in a blur of New Year’s bashes.

“Our primary aim is to address youngsters, as they are the ones frequently involved in road accidents. However, on the day right after Dec 31, many of the educational institutions are shut and even parents of the kids are not so eager,” said an RTO official. 

“We will hold the function from January 3 to January 17. It will be inaugurated by the chief minister,” said S Sharma, principal secretary (transport). Normally, organisations involved in transport – such as those of school buses, taxis, auto rickshaws, private buses, motor driving schools, educational institutes and so on – are expected to attend the very first day of the event. The 47 RTOs across the state host their own functions through the fortnight.

‘After you’
This year, the theme of the event is, ‘When on the road, always say, “Pehle Aap”’. It is universally found that pedestrians as well as drivers take pride in prodding out their fellows to go first, and overtaking, rather than allowing them to move. “We want to tell the people that this isn’t a healthy trend, as such haste results in accidents. Preference should always be given to pedestrians,” said a transport department official. In a letter to the states, the Union ministry of road transport and highways has said that loss of life and limb cannot be accepted as the price of speedy mobility.

Activity log
Suggested activities during the road safety campaign:

>> A symbolic ‘Walkathon’ will be held on January 12
>> Public announcements on road safety at important intersections using mobile vans
>> Organisation of exhibitions, seminars, lectures and screening of documentary films
>> Medical check-ups and eyesight-testing camps; free distribution of spectacles to drivers
>> Curbing offences like speeding, overloading, unauthorised parking, drink-driving etc
>> Special training programmes related to traffic rules, for school and college students
>> Inclusion of traffic guidelines and road-safety matters in school textbooks.
>> Training children in traffic regulations

Approximate number of deaths in a year due to road accidents in India

Number of deaths in a year due to road mishaps in Maharashtra

Did you know?
The Union ministry of road transport and highways has asked all transport, traffic and related departments in all the states of the country to observe the Road Safety Week during January 11-17. Maharashtra, however, has been running the annual affair for half a month for the last 3-4 years, owing to the alarmingly high accident figures in the state. The number of deaths due to road accidents in the state makes up a chunky fifth of the total number of deaths in the country.

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