Bipedalism (standing upright on two feet) is considered the crucial marker of human evolution. Walking, whether on a pilgrimage or as a mode of protest (think Dandi or Selma), is invested with significance, with an aura, a purpose. The effort, the impetus behind walking, the motivation that propels these walks are recognised as something special.
Sumana Narayanan, Senior Researcher - Consumer Protection
Across the world people are coming to realise that roads, especially in our cities, should not be about the metal monstrosities that we call vehicles, but should be about people. That people use these spaces, which are public spaces, for a variety of purposes - from the obvious one of mobility to livelihood to recreation. Yet all our planning, our laws on roads and transport is focussed on the inanimate, polluting vehicles.
As part of the National Road Safety Month, on February 18th 2021, CAG held a webinar on road safety in Tamil Nadu. The highlight of the webinar was the perspective shared by Mr. Pramod Kumar, IPS who heads the State Traffic Planning Wing of the Tamilnadu Police. With the recent strides made by Tamil Nadu in reducing road crash fatality, he was able to throw light on how these have been achieved and how the government is not waiting to rest on its laurels but looking to improve the state’s track record so the state can reach zero deaths. He also shared some key statistics on road crashes in the state.
He highlighted the efforts to ensure seamless planning and coordination among the various government agencies involved and how those efforts have paid off. One such example has been to set up highway patrols (as highways see some of the highest number of crash fatalities) so that response time is reduced considerably. Medical facilities and ensuring that trained personnel are able to provide immediate lifesaving help in ambulances was another key point.
He also touched upon various aspects of the law and the role of each stakeholder – driver, CSOs, parents, children, government agencies, etc. He highlighted that underage driving has become a very regrettably common phenomenon and this is an issue the police is gearing up to crack down on. He pointed out that as per the law, the parents/guardian are held responsible.
During the question and answer session, in response to a question on whether the amended Motor Vehicles Act, 2019 would be implemented in Tamil Nadu, he responded that it is under consideration with the government and is likely to be implemented soon.
Since the beginning of September, buses have started to ply the roads of Chennai. Many, no doubt, sighed in relief as public transport, especially buses, are a lifeline. Buses mean mobility, buses mean livelihood and therefore survival.
It's been 5 years since Chennai became the first Indian city to adopt a non motorised transport (NMT) Policy. Are pedestrians safer now? Is the infrastructure better for them and are motorists more considerate? CAG evaluated several locations across the city and spoke to road users to answer these questions.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill is key to containing the 1.5 lakh road fatalities each year - but will it ever see the light of day?