June 2, 2018
Coimbatore: It is literally waging a war for two-wheeler owners, dodging traffic, fighting pollution and struggling to move away from rash drivers, causing stress and physiological problems.
On an average, a person spends anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours of their day driving, making it almost 360 hours a year. Already people have to survive numerous lifestyle diseases, and adding to this are the problems caused by driving, say traffic officials.
Urban roads are extremely congested, rapidly degrading road quality and most of the expenditure for road expansion goes into maintenance. It is a vicious circle where bad roads cause traffic problems, and the traffic does not allow scope for the development of new roads, they say.
C2 traffic police station Sub-Inspector R.Rajan Babu told the The Covai Post, “There are too many vehicles in our cities, and the numbers are increasing every day. This is a big challenge for traffic police officers, and they need co-operation from people, pedestrians and motorists to manage traffic. Our lack of patience and empathy disrupt the balance of traffic police. If one person stops, people from behind try to overtake, blocking vehicles coming from the opposite direction. Just because one person decides to be impatient, the entire stretch of road gets blocked.”
Traffic police departments are understaffed. “People don’t want to join the traffic police force because of the long and hazardous work hours. Hence, it becomes extremely difficult to manage escalating traffic numbers on roads. The traffic department is ensuring that a minimum educational level of SSLC is required to get a driving licene, so that people who drive or ride know the traffic rules and are aware of their responsibilities. But it is sad to note that even educated people do not obey traffic rules, he adds.
There is the need to improve public transport and have schemes like the green corridor system where a motorist getting a green signal at one of the junctions would be able to proceed non–stop at other signals, provided he or she maintains a speed limit of 45 kmph. However, the system faced too many hitches because of the frequent power cuts and these signals need to be solar-powered and should have UPS.
Traffic police D Suresh said, “We can plan and have rules. But if people do not care for them, they are not going to be of any help.”
Increasing population density puts a big pressure on already existing public transport infrastructure, affecting its quality. People prefer having their own transport.
Constable Subramani K says there are three basic rules to be followed – wearing helmets, stopping at red and yellow signals and following lane discipline. The recent rule enforcing helmet for pillion riders was put into place after extensive research which pointed out that a large number of pillion riders suffered or succumbed to head injuries. He believes that if people start following these simple rules, traffic conditions can improve manifold.