Tackling Road Accidents
Of late, the number of highway accidents in Assam has increased by leaps and bounds. Only the other day, there was a highway accident near Biswath Chariali that took the lives of a just–married couple and a few others of the bridegroom’s party. Fully loaded buses toppling over, cars ramming on to trucks and buses and motorcycles colliding with other vehicles have become very commonplace road accidents. There are three factors that need to be kept in mind if the Chief Minister of Assam and his bureaucrats are really serious about tackling highway accidents. One is the remarkable improvement in the standards of highways even though they do not quite match the standards of highways between Delhi and Jaipur or between Mumbai and Pune. An innovation that seems to have had a major impact on the self–confidence of half–baked motorists is the divider that protects them from oncoming traffic. In a sense, we have high speed highways even though the quality of the surface often leaves much to be desired. This widening of highways and the introduction of dividers has to be viewed together with high–speed cars and motorcycles driven by those who have not learnt to drive and have secured their driving licences without taking any proper tests. However, the worst contributor to highway accidents is liquor. There are far too many drunk people driving cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles. One of the first things we need to do to reduce and prevent highway accidents is to introduce breathalyser tests and very stringent punishment for anyone driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Let the government initiate breathalyser tests and see how fast the rate of highway accidents declines in our State.