The much needed Road Safety Week began on 23rd April, with the theme of, “Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha”. Much needed because Rajasthan ranks 5th in road accidents accounting for about 5% in the entire country. Which implies over a thousand accidents in a year. While the numbers are high in the entire state Jaipur district recorded the maximum road accident deaths. These figures do sound scary, but there’s good news too. Because of the serious efforts made by the Public Works and Transport Department under the leadership of Mr. Yunus Khan and the Traffic Police Department these numbers have been drastically decreasing since last few years.
“If the drivers follow traffic rules, the number of road accidents can be brought down. But the main challenge is reaching out to the drivers. There are 65 lakh students enrolled at the senior secondary level in the state who are below the age of 18. They are the potential and should be made aware of traffic rules,” said Mr. Khan at one of the events.
Slogan writing competition and poster making competition were organized various schools and colleges across the district. To make it make effective winners are awarded and these posters along with the slogans were put up on the traffic police website as well as the banners and hoardings across Jaipur. Unlike rest of the country, most accidents in Rajasthan happen between 3 pm and 9 pm and during perfect weather conditions, so the traffic police also had to take out of the box measures unlike rest of the country.
One of the major changes Jaipurites noticed was that instead of being tight on rules the traffic police officers are being very lenient. We could actually see policemen stopping riders without helmets not for slapping a big fine but to persuade them to wear a helmet and ride safe, also make youngsters understand the value of their lives.
Our government is getting smarter by the day. The most useful step taken by the government was creating awareness amongst primary and secondary school children and making them realize how dangerous it can be for their parents or elder siblings to ride without helmets and drive without a seatbelt on. If you have a kid or a younger sibling, you know it’s almost impossible to refuse something they ask you to do. Also, people are more likely to listen to their loved ones than some volunteers trying to spread awareness on the road.
The traffic police department also ran campaigns on social media because authorities understood that youngsters are looking at the phone screens instead of the road is what causes accidents in the first place. But apart from that, there are certain mobile applications like Kruzr, Safely Home, Party Hard Drivers and Humsafar Road Safety which are helping to make our roads safer. In fact, the Android app was Developed by a bureaucrat in Rajasthan.
NGOs like Muskaan and Sahayta have working to build a culture of safety on roads through Awareness, Education, Training, and Advocacy. They also deserve credit for helping the government to effectively accomplish the objectives of Road Safety Week.
Unfortunately, there are times when accidents cannot be avoided in spite of ample care, that time a well-informed person can prove to be life-saving. During this week Workshops are organized where professional doctors taught people how to react in critical situations. Step by step instructions to give first aid, how to give CPR, What to do if the person’s heartbeat stops, How to remove a helmet of an injured rider were few of the numerous topics that were discussed in the workshops. People understood What to do and more importantly what not to do in sensitive situations.