Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow

December 30, 2020; Silchar

With every passing year, road accidents are becoming more common in Silchar and its neighbouring areas. These accidents are becoming more rampant and savage. Earlier they were unintentional and spur of the moment events but these days, drivers don’t even think twice before drunk driving or breaking a ton of traffic rules. Overall, street crashes have become the central reason for death for the residents of Silchar.

The mention of last year’s Diwali mishap still causes goosebumps to the people of Silchar when a speeding truck crashed into a Kali Puja procession, killing two locals and severely injuring over twenty others. The whole town mourned the tragedy and came out to protest against the ignorance and incapability of the traffic police. Section 144 had to be issued to bring the public under control. A similar accident happened this year as well when a drunkard behind a truck wheel caused the death of a mother and daughter in Sonai. This caused a open headlock between the public and the police as hundreds of the former came out on streets and event participated in vandalism. So, is it all because the local traffic department is too incompetent or maybe the public is too hotheaded and ignorant to notice their own mistakes. Coming out on the streets to protest, burning state owned vehicles and vandalising the ASTC centre is definitely not going to improve the situation.

Potential hazards can range from bad road behaviour to road dynamics. Even the road infrastructure can affect the vehicles running on them and Silchar is infamous for it’s potholes and broken roads. Behaviours like drunk driving, exceeding speed limits, ignoring road signs such as cross roads and intersections are sone of the leading reasons for vehicular accidents. Thus, the larger share of the responsibility for avoiding road mishaps is that of the public.

Increased traffic rules violations has caused the central government to increase the penalties all over the country. The new Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019 came under usen from 1st September 2019. Hefty penalties for braking traffic laws hit the headlines and the Silchar municipality and traffic department, adhering to these rules, has started it’s journey to make the roads more safe and pedestrian-friendly. Increased fines such as driving without licence jumped from INR 500 to INR 5,000, earlier it was INR 400 for overspeeding but now the residents of Silchar have to pay INR 1,000 to INR 2,000 for light vehicles and upto INR 4,000 for heavy vehicles. Drunk driving can cost it’s offender a fine of INR 10,000 and/or 6 months of imprisonment for first offence and upto INR 20,000 fine and/or for second offence.

Silchar, with it’s long history of violent accidents, communal and social unrest, is slowly turning the tide around for a better tomorrow. But it will take more than improved laws and increased fines to decrease the number of traffic tragedies. dangerous situations can be easily avoided if road rules are strictly followed and vehicles are well-maintained. Most importantly, drive within the speed limits and avoid any distractions while driving. In the current pandemic, these accidents, which can be easily avoided by following traffic safety rules, are only adding to the already heavy burden of grief and loss that the people are going through. Road safety is of utmost priority after the invention of mass-produced vehicles. Every year people are killed, when they or others fail to observe various road safety measures. Thus it is important that people work alongside the administration and not blame one another when an unfortunate event strikes the town. Road safety, may not sound that much domineering but is an important factors that must be kept at all cost to ensure smooth flow of daily lives and livelihoods.

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