Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Traffic Police will organise special drives across the city to check ‘wrong side driving violations’ by motorists to reduce the number of accidents in the city.
The police are identifying places where there are rampant incidents of wrong side driving with special teams to take up drives and awareness campaigns in those areas. Traffic police officials attribute most of the accidents, including fatal ones, to wrong side driving by motorists.
“By driving on the wrong side, motorists endanger their lives and that of other road users. Many take this risk only to cut short the distance and save a few minutes,” said Anil Kumar, Additional Commissioner (Traffic), Hyderabad.
The city has witnessed an increase in cases of wrong side driving with the Traffic police booking 1.54 lakh cases last year. In January alone this year, the police booked around 18,000 cases of wrong side driving.
“In several accidents, victims are motorists going on the proper route but got injured or killed because of the fault of others driving on the wrong side. Even if the accident is nonfatal, one can imagine the trauma and hardship caused to the victim, not to mention the financial burden,” explains K Vinod Kumar, traffic safety expert and founder of the Indian Federation of Road Safety.
The traffic police, on the other hand, have decided to detain vehicles of those found driving in the wrong directions and to ask them to attend counseling. Similarly, on the identified stretches where wrong side driving is rampant, the police will put up signage and posters warning of the consequences of the dangerous practice. In the next few months, the traffic police will also increase its traffic and road safety awareness programmes.
“Last year, due to the pandemic, we restricted ourselves to online campaigns. But shortly we will start awareness programmes in educational institutions, offices and private corporate companies,” a senior official said.
Many victims of wrong side driving are often innocent pedestrians.
According to K Vinod Kumar, Indian Federation of Road Safety, pedestrians are confused while walking on the roadside in the absence of pavements.
“First the pavement is encroached upon, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. On the road, they have to counter vehicles coming on the wrong side apart from those coming from behind,” he said.
In several instances, pedestrians were injured or died after being hit by vehicles coming in the wrong direction.
“In a few instances, we have seen motorists trying to escape traffic police checking by driving on the wrong side,” he added.
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