Strap: Road Safety: The Honourable Supreme Court has instructed every state to set up a Road Safety Cell

The Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019: Road Safety Legislation may have encountered some rough weather. But Union Minister for Road & Transport Mr Nitin Gadkari made it clear that the “Centre’s intention is not to give trouble to the people, but to stop accidents and save lives”. But, Act or No Act, the Maharashtra state RTO Department is leaving no stone unturned to create awareness towards road safety and bring down the alarming casualty rate, which has become a huge cause of concern for one and all.

The chief of Road Safety Cell, Maharashtra, Mr Ravi Gaikwad, said that they plan to hold awareness campaigns to mourn road deaths, use of social media to create road safety awareness and apply stricter tests for driving licences to put a brake on the ever-growing number of casualties on the road. Throwing more light on the subject, Mr Gaikwad, who is also the Chief of RTO Thane and Konkan Region, said road safety has been a major concern for the government as 1.5 lakh people died in road accidents last year.

“With almost two lakh deaths caused by road accidents in the last three years, I am very surprised that people are not vocal about the issue. This is an extremely serious concern,” said Gaikwad, who was a H.Sc. topper in the state and a scientist before he joined the RTO.

Carelessness leads to death

It is also very commonly seen that youngsters resort to rash riding/driving at night, many times under the influence of alcohol, the RTO plans to have flying squads which will frequently check and catch offenders who indulges in rash riding/driving, do not wear helmets or drink and drive. “If the citizens do not comply with the rules, we will suspend their licences,” he said.

“We are planning to make the driver’s test stricter,” Mr. Gaikwad said and added that the RTO also plans to have a more stringent document verification process as it has been observed that parents help their children get a driving licence early by producing fake certificates.

With the high frequency of heavy vehicles on the highways leading away from Mumbai, the office also plans to conduct rigorous vehicle inspections and break tests. “We will be adding a road safety desk in every office where people can reach out to us with their problems. We will also conduct regular seminars and workshops in schools and colleges to raise awareness about road safety,” Mr. Gaikwad said.

Identify Black Spots

This cell was formed by the Honourable Supreme Court last year to bring down casualty on Indian roads. The RTO, PWD, Traffic Police, Education and Health Department all are working closely under this cell in every district to get maximum result in minimum time. To start with, we have started identifying the “Black Spots” on the roads. Black Spots are those areas where maximum accidents occur. We are trying to understand the basic reasons behind that and working towards rectifying them. Like, if the turn is too sharp, we have tried to make the road linear; if there are instances of over speeding, then we have put speed breakers; we have put stringent rules in place for issuing driver’s licence; we are enforcing tough fines and taking action after sudden checks; we have also introduced customised vehicles for police with speed guns and the Cell is reviewing its progress in every district on a regular basis.

Road Safety Cell in Thane

Mr Gaikwad added that he plans to start a road safety cell in Thane where the Cell is specifically dedicated for road safety where all other departments—RTO, Traffic Police, PWD, Education & Health—work together. The RTO is dealing with individuals directly and the Road Safety Cell is taking into consideration all the other parameters.

Use social media

Mr Gaikwad added that he plans to conduct campaigns where families, who have lost their loved ones due to road accidents, can share their experience on a common platform. “It will act as a wake-up call for many, especially those who do not follow the rules,” he said. We will use social media to highlight these aspects.