Delhi: Accident Capital of India

LETHAL STRETCHES

10 Traffic Black Spots, Mostly Intersections, Have Claimed 17 Lives So Far

Megha Suri | TNN

This year may have recorded a decrease in the total number of persons killed on Delhi roads, but a handful of stretches around the city have been proving to be problematic for the traffic police as an alarming number of accidents are reported from there. Times City lists 10 intersections or black spots which have claimed the maximum number of lives in 2008.

PROBLEM AREAS
This year, the highest number of fatal accidents — as many as 17 — have been reported from ISBT Kashmere Gate, in which 17 persons died and 23 were injured till October 31 this year. Next on the list is Dhaula Kuan with 15 fatal accidents, opposite Hyatt on Ring Road (14), Shastri Park (12), Burari crossing (12), Ashram crossing (8), Raja Garden crossing (8), Punjabi Bagh crossing (8), Mukarba crossing (7) and Sarai Kale Khan (7).

CAUSES
Interestingly, a majority of these spots — 8 of 10 — fall on the Ring Road, most of which is nearly signal-free. The government, in the past few years, has been building flyover after flyover on the road and widening it to allow fast movement of vehicles. But in the absence of facilities like subways or foot overbridges for pedestrians, the artery has become highly unsafe for those crossing the road.
Another major reason for the accidents, according to the traffic police experts, is the high volume of trucks passing through these stretches at night. Often intoxicated, truck drivers have little knowledge of city traffic rules and tend to overspeed. There have been several instances where overworked truckers have been unable to stop the vehicle in time, leading to an accident.
A classification of the time of occurrence of the accidents also reveals that a majority have taken place between 2am and 6am, when the movement of trucks is very heavy. Little police presence and inadequate street lighting have aggravated the situation, making the stretch very lethal.

TOUGH SPOTS
Certain stretches like ISBT Kashmere Gate and Shastri Park have been notorious for accidents even in the past two years. The traffic police also claim to have initiated corrective measures, including construction of foot overbridges, but to little avail. The lack of pedestrian facilities at Dhaula Kuan since the construction of a grade separator has been raised numerous times. But the spot opposite the ISBT on NH-8 remains prone to accidents.

THE WAY AHEAD
Once the black spots have been identified, the job of the traffic police is to identify what is causing the accidents and take corrective measures. Said joint commissioner of police (traffic) SN Shrivastava: “It was noticed that heavy vehicles have been a major cause of accidents so we started night checking of these vehicles and have also started turning them away from the borders during the day when they are not supposed to enter the city. Police presence has been increased at night to instil a fear of prosecution, which was missing earlier.’’
The cops are also planning to start drives to educate pedestrians and continue the drive against jaywalking. Also, emphasis will be laid on prosecution of two-wheelers as they, along with pedestrians, form a majority of the victims of road deaths.

OVERALL SITUATION
In the past year, the focus has been on quality prosecution where motorists have been checked for violations — such as overspeeding, jumping red lights, drunken or dangerous driving — which can lead to accidents. Till October 31 this year, the cops have prosecuted 10.44 lakh motorists for such violations. The figure is much higher for 2007, when 6.40 lakh motorists were booked.
The effect of the strict action is visible as figures of the traffic police show a decline of 6.7% in the total fatal accidents with 1,711 persons being killed in accidents till October 31, 2008, as compared to 1,826 persons for the same period last year. The number of those injured has also fallen by 15% from 6,503 to 5,526. The ‘killer’ Bluelines have also been reigned in as they have caused 98 deaths this year, as against 131 in 2007.

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megha.suri@timesgroup.com

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