‘Let’s make our roads safe for 52 weeks a year’


PANAJI: Efforts made by the transport and traffic departments during Road Safety Week are largely ineffective, Suraj Kumar, chief mentor of Delhi-based independent think tank Neeti Foundation and a former United Nations staffer, said on Wednesday on the sidelines of a lecture on sustainability at The International Centre, Goa.


"The very concept of Road Safety Week is inadequate. It's observed for one week, but what about the remaining 51 weeks? We've to go beyond rituals and focus on building a citizens' movement for road safety," he said.

Though he agreed that Road Safety Week succeeds on its limited parameters of spreading awareness, he said there is still a long way to go in terms of making sure the week-long campaign results in improvement in the overall road transport system. "The purpose of Road Safety Week thus far is failing. There should be a very strong focus on improvement of motor vehicles and perhaps lesser people should be granted driving licences," he said.

Kumar also said that though there are sufficient provision for roads, there is a need to build the ecosystem around them by providing traffic signals and other appropriate safety mechanisms. "In Goa, the traffic density and road width has increased and two-lane roads have turned into four-lane ones, but the ecosystem around roads is absent. There should be high-quality lighting, identification of blind spots, signages and other road furniture," he said.

Stressing on the need to focus on traffic accidents as a health issue, the former UN staffer said, "The goal of good health and well-being focusses on mortality and morbidity. With increased auto-mobilization of society, safety of means of transport is an issue, and so is the quality of infrastructure. Today, technology is not a constraint, but the administrative system's ability to focus and deliver the peripheral issues is relevant."