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Friday, April 11, 2014

the alarming accident rate of Chennai ... how safe are the roads !!

With the increased incidence of travelling, there is more to see ~ and one does get unnerved by the way vehicles fly past, the attitude of drivers, the callous road-users and more…. the famed OMR has more than its share of Volvo buses, College buses, Transport corporation buses, IT buses, vans ferrying employees, commercial vehicles, private cars of various hues, private taxis, call-taxis, auto-rickshaws, share autos, so many two-wheelers and more…..


This morning read in NZ Herald of an article titled ‘NZ's most dangerous day of the year revealed’ …….before you read this, here are some stray thoughts….

Chennai’s has had a developed transportation for long – it one of the first places to have well developed railways; Trams too existed – in fact, Triplicane High Road, for long was known as Tram Road ~ they ran slow and ran on electricity. Tram service reportedly came to an end in Apr 1953 and Govt contracted third party for removal of tracks and overhead cables.  The roads of Chennai are dangerous and stake treacherous claim to be getting deadlier.  Sadly, according to statistics  of  Accidental Death and Suicides in India (ADSI 2011), prepared by the National Crime Records Bureau, Chennai  recorded the highest number of road accidents. The statistics of  State Transport Authority of TN Govt is alarming. In 1993 – the fatalities in TN State was 7349 – total accidents being 34925 and persons involved : 39675; in 2013, the corresponding figure was 15563 fatalities; 60238 accidents and 91244 persons involved. 

The numbers are increasing staggering and behind the numbers are those whose lives were snatched away cruelly or those who were injured – with families struggling after such accidents.  Chennai is getting the dubious distinction of  the highest among 53 cities in the country; followed by Delhi, distant second while Bangalore also in the list.  The rising number of accidents must be a great concern for all road users – still you find people walking, crossing and driving – hooked to mobile phones, caring little for self and other users.  Motorcycle rides seem to be no fun at all in the State with 4467 fatalities and 22496 accidents accounting around 33%.  Curiously, of 66238 accidents of 2013, 5580 were caused by others !!

So are we staking claim to be part of the least diligent motorists on the most dangerous roads ? It isn't a record to be proud of: for the last 10 years, Tamil Nadu has topped the National Crime Record Bureau's charts for road accidents in the country. Statistics suggest that close to eight accidents occur every hour, and the state accounts for 15% of all road accidents in the country.

Away from Chennai, Tamilnadu, the report of NZ Herald puts that April 13 is the day, people should be particularly careful.  The reports states ‘Beware – Sunday (Apr 13)  is the most dangerous day in New Zealand, according to ACC figures ~ for more people hurt themselves on April 13 last year than any other day.

More than 8000 claims relating to injuries on that date were lodged last year - more than three times as many as the day with the lowest number of claims, Christmas Day. Most incident on April 13 were the result of falls. ACC spokesman David Simpson said there was no easily identifiable reason why April 13 proved so hazardous last year. "As these statistics show, daily claims volumes can fluctuate quite markedly," he said. "Unless there's a major injury event, such as the February earthquake in Canterbury in 2011, it's impossible to attribute a spike in claims to a single cause." About 12,000 claims were received for injuries on February 22, 2011 - more than 6000 related to the earthquake. ACC receives about 4600 claims a day on average, about 1.7 million a year.

However, even though the most 'injurious' days last year were in April, May and June, March was the most hazardous overall with a total of 166,349 claims. Kiwis wanting to protect themselves at home this Sunday should beware of common hazards, Mr Simpson said. "It's a Sunday, so a lot of us will be at home or taking part in sport or recreational activities." Simple ways to do this included mopping up spills as soon as they happened, fastening mats to the floor, and replacing blown lightbulbs fast to avoid fumbling in the dark.Clearing away toys and running electrical cords against the wall were other good lines of defence. For those heading out, wearing high visibility gear for running or cycling was a good idea - especially in poor light.

To conclude, the NZ report is far different as it includes ‘falls’ and other minor injuries at home, workplace, places of entertainment etc., - the alarming statistics of TN relate to road accidents.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

11th Apr 2014.

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