In the last few days, there has been a concentrated amount of fatalities in a stretch of roads in Goa. Then a public outcry on the failure of the traffic police to govern the situation, thus causing deaths and many injuries to the public. Now the blame game starts, the most of which is borne by the traffic department. Name calling towards the govt and few blaming the public.
But what is the real situation?
For me, i would look at it as a combination of Factors, which i would mention below.
1. PWD: The biggest issue here i see, is the failure of PWD to provide better Road infrastructure, from lack of road barriers, road speedbreakers, streetlighting, reflectors , dividers, and more. Our Roads and highways have only been hotmixed and thats it. there is no more improvement or advancement of anything. If PWD works closely with the Traffic police to understand the usage , accident patterns etc for the last 5 years (as a study period) then accidents would be minimum.
2. Traffic Police : Sadly, the Goa police and traffic department are one of government machinery which has hardly any budget for improvement or growth. The Staff has been pushed around, or interfered with. Bureaucracy, Red Tapism has infected this organisation. They need to be drastically helped by our Home minister, a revamp is the need of the hour.
Traffic police in Goa, has a bad name for taking bribes. Also higher fines are threatened onto motorists , who end up paying up smaller bribes instead. The traffic department, needs to go cashless, either have portable payment devices, or keep Kiosks for users to pay. To stop or lessen bribes. Traffic police in other countries are forced to have targets in finding offenders and a % reward of fixed values are given every month.
Lack of training, demotivates young cadets in catching offenders, as public tend to get smarter in escaping traffic monitored routes. The traffic dept needs to be trained on a monthly basis, on various aspects from ethics, legalities, anger management, leadership and more. NGOs that conduct soft skill trainings, can contribute their CSR projects to these police departments which inturn could help our situations.
We need to also remove the link of personal promotions/career growth between influential leaders and the young officers. Promotions and merit needs to be based on work, skill and study. And not becoz of God fathers who end up have personal demands in return of favours. .
Also apart from checking just the smoke and pollution. There should be a checklist done to identify functionality of older vehicles, even the threads of tires. People who are careless will ignore these factors, causing major risk to themselves and to others.
3. Lack of IT Industry involvement : Traffic in many countries are controlled by Automated IT Systems, Aerial Drone and Local CCTV surveillance in control rooms. Proper Regular Offender Software databases are maintained and regular offenders have their licenses withdrawn. A proper points system is followed for serious offenses. Higher the points, more grave are the penalties, including jail terms.
Speed camera, Automated traffic signals , Traffic Police vehicles equipped with radar equipments. Even working with Google and others for Geo-mapping traffic lanes to study congestion, hazardous areas, accident analysis is all missing. Interlinking traffic data, with branches, with vehicle dashboards and more is need of the hour to give traffic police a chance to be one step ahead. Walkie Talkies for communication for all traffic personnel , Radio network and more is needed for faster response. i have personally seen traffic police struggling to make calls on their personal mobiles during emergencies !!!
Even for payment of penalties should be cashless with 3G/4G payment devices with the traffic police or at Kiosk machines or pay online govt websites, integrated with banks. All this is needed to advance the morale, capabilities of our traffic police.
We are still in stone age.
4. The Drivers : Strict penalties based on point system is the need of the hour. Helmets on ALL roads , seat belts on ALL Roads, Rules needs to be made for all roads and forcibly followed.
Safe driving and road behavior needs to be taught in schools and colleges, the same way and important as how Sex Education is taught to young teenagers. It is also equally important for them as they become 18 years, their passion & desire to drive vehicles clouds their judgement.
Driving license exams, should be more strict and more tests be put into practice and implemented by RTO and others.
5. The Govt : The Govt failed to review the above points and build a solid strong policy that governs Traffic in Goa, all the above points are vital for a safer traffic management in Goa. The biggest thing that Goa Govt needs to do is to stop bureaucracy, improve the facilities and infrastructure of the traffic department. The Govt needs to invite all these sectors together to build a strong and powerful traffic policy.
Together these 5 points can really bring fatalities and injuries to the minimum and make Goan Roads safer again.