ad condition of City roads is irking commuters. The commuters who travel daily on the City roads are fed up with these deep potholes and are complaining that the bad condition of the roads hampers their travel and they often reach late to their destinations. Even the recurrent road accidents in Kashmir have become a major concern. Not a day passes when we don’t lose one precious life to such accidents. With our failure to make our roads safer, we seem to have gained the notoriety of unnatural deaths in the country. The National Crime Records Bureau made some startling revelations in its report ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India’. Figures on road accidents are quite alarming. As per one of the reports of the NCB last year, there was an increase of 1.8 per cent in accidents from 2018 to 2019. The report also says that road accident is the eighth biggest cause of death in our country.
Accidents lead to a 3 percent loss in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a loss of Rs 4 lakh crore on average due to road accidents. The NCB report suggested that J&K had fared poorly, even worse than Nagaland, in preventing the road accidents. The news about road accidents in which human lives are lost is so frequent that one wonders if the statistics in this regard are diligently gathered, we might find this as a major cause of death in J&K. We have been quite slow in taking effective steps to improve the engineering of vehicles and roads that envisages regular inspections for warrant of fitness, promotion of the use of vehicles with improved designing giving ease of vision and control to the driver, installing traffic signals, road markings warning and destination signs, etc. Even as some general causes like reckless driving, overloading, poor condition of roads and vehicles etc. are prevalent almost across the country, the accidents in J&K can primarily be attributable to factors like dilapidated and narrow roads, common ignorance about traffic laws and lack of knowledge about safe-driving principles. The government agencies endowed with this task need to focus on the proper training of traffic cops , locations and times that feature frequently in accidents. That would give them some important insights into the reasons for the increasing number of accidents and a better idea about how to prevent them. Similarly, strict rules should be made for newly drivers who apply for the licences, massive education and training programmes for the drivers as well learners and safe driving principles need be arranged by the government.