mid-day editorial: E-Way safety: The writing's on the wall

Here’s yet another example of how people are often willing to sacrifice safety to save a few rupees — motorists and locals from nearby villages broke down a wall near the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to open up a dirt road and save on toll. For the past two months, motorists have been using this dirt road to bypass the Talegaon toll plaza and save Rs 80-100.

However, as a report in this paper highlighted yesterday, the point at which the dirt road joins the expressway has become a danger hotspot. The traffic police are thankful no major accidents have occurred yet, but they fear that speeding vehicles could collide with motorists entering the highway from the dirt road. So far, vehicles from both sides have brushed against each other, but this a disaster waiting to happen.

It’s hard to fathom why the wall has not been repaired in the past two months, even though the authorities are aware of the danger. Currently, the traffic police are patrolling the entry and exit points to the road to nab law-breaking drivers. However, this is a stopgap solution, at best.

This paper reported that there are plans to rebuild the wall. This should be the first priority. Let there be swift action in this issue; we cannot afford to be merely reactive. This is a familiar pattern, wherein we tend to wait for a catastrophe to take place and act as a catalyst for corrective measures.

The traffic cops must also crack down on the motorists who persist in taking the dirt road, despite the danger involved. These selfish and unthinking motorists are not just putting their own lives on the line, but that of others’ too. To compound the problem, even local villagers are using the dirt road. This is a crime, let us treat it as such. Finally, once this wall is repaired, which cannot happen a day too soon, it is equally important to prevent a repeat of the episode.

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