MANISH GOSALIA | An increase in traffic accidents reported daily, both in India, and more particularly, in Goa is a worrisome factor and needs priority intervention by the State Government. Statistics in Goa suggest we have one of the highest accident rates in India and according to a newspaper article, Goa records close to 4200 accidents every year, or an average of 12 accidents every day; which is an extremely high figure for a state that has a relatively low population, well educated population and decently tarred motorable roads. These statistics, of course, fail to take into consideration instances where parties settle the matter at the accident site without informing the authorities. If one takes that figure in consideration, actual accidents will rise by atleast 100%.
Newspapers suggest that most accidents occur due to negligence and rash driving, and this indicates a disturbing scenario, which points towards a deeper societal problem requiring urgent attention by the community, Government, social workers, parents and community workers.
The Governments have paid limited attention to this ballooning issue and it requires a dedicated focus to save and improve the lives of hundreds of Goans who face the trauma and the after effects of road accidents.
It is imperative that the Goa Government appoints an audit agency to prepare a comprehensive report on accidents’ causes and consider all parameters in the report, including village and taluka wise statistic on accidents [including accident prone areas],age of individuals, type(s) of vehicles involved (i.e. Heavy, LMV, motorbikes, etc), while also checking whether vehicles involved are from Goa state or from outside states.
Furthermore, trauma details (i.e. general injury, major disability and fatalities) should also be mentioned in these reports. This information will allow the Government to target the specific areas related to the problem, instead of just a general mention of rash and negligent driving by the victim / offender.
The Government needs to focus on some primary tasks to improve the safety of its citizens in Goa.
Firstly, there needs to be a strong focus on educating individuals on road safety measures. Recent newspaper reports suggest that the Government plan to educated people who an road safety measures, the same however should be made mandatory for all drivers possessing heavy vehicle licences. A more rigorous examination system must be mandatory for any individual to possess a driving license. The RTO’s procedure for obtaining a driving licence is in suspect and several drivers have been issued licences through touts and agents. Individuals need to be sensitised on the do’s and don’ts of road safety and understand safety measures.