Madness on the roads of ImphalLooking at the fatality rate

23 percent fatality rate. This is the finding of the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and this should say something about how safety measures laid down by the Government are more often violated than adhered to. Take a look at the reality around. Helmet is yet to be made mandatory for those riding a two wheeler and there is no such thing as making seat belts compulsory for those travelling in four wheeler vehicles. Out on the road it is a free for all situation, where the dare devil drivers manage to break free and squeeze their way through, never mind the risks others are exposed to by their wayward driving. Over loading, over taking from the left, honking incessantly, loud exhaust pipes or removing the silencer from the exhaust pipes of a two wheeler vehicle are all examples of the chaos that one sees on the road of Imphal on a regular basis. Significant to note that the police had to step in and crackdown on those using two wheelers, particularly motor cycles without the silencer in the exhaust pipes and one hopes this is not a one day crackdown but a sustained campaign to shut up all those who do not think twice about adding to the noise pollution. The noise pollution is all that more irritating during the hot summer days. The mindset behind the madness that one sees on the road of Imphal is what is worrying. It is a case of everyone caring two hoots about the generally accepted rules and regulations and throwing their weight around, not giving a thought to the inconveniences faced by the other road users.
The mentality of the people is starkly visible in the traffic chaos that one sees all over the place at Imphal on a daily basis. It is not a case of too many vehicles and it is not even a case of the roads being too narrow. It is more a case of everyone flouting the rules and regulations, refusing to see beyond their immediate ‘need’ to reach the place of their destination. At the moment, the traffic signals put up at different traffic roundels have started functioning. Even here, it has become compulsory to put traffic police personnel on duty to ensure that the motorists adhere to the traffic rules and stick by the Red, Yellow and Green signal. One wonders how the situation will be if the traffic cops are pulled out and motorists are expected to stick to the traffic lights put up on their own. Or is this hoping for too much ? Traffic is everyone’s responsibility and not only the traffic cops’ out there manning the roads and streets. Need to move beyond the understanding that driving here is only about putting the engine into life, holding the clutch, putting the gear into motion and letting the vehicle move. It is about respecting the space of other road users and respecting the rules and regulations laid down, such as the three signals given at every traffic point, like the Red, the Yellow and the Green. These are much more than colours but is a directive of when to stop, when to get ready and when to start moving.