Ask any Hyderabadi (anyone who resides in Hyderabad) about the traffic in Hyderabad and I am damn sure that the response would not be positive. For every soul that enters Hyderabad, the first thing that strikes his/her mind is the absolute chaotic and reckless traffic. This is in no way intended to hurt the sentiments of natives of Hyderabad; but it is nevertheless a fact, which can never be denied.
Anyone who rides a bike everyday to work is a perfect candidate to feel the disharmony in the traffic. I am sure that most of the hyderabadis are inured to the traffic violations and take them as granted. This has largely to do with the indifference of Traffic cops in many junctions.
Jumping a signal and unsolicited U-Turns are no longer considered an offence. People are used to these kinds of activities around them and have developed a mentality that it has become a part of their lives. Although a recent research shows a drop in fatality rate due to road accidents (418 deaths in 2004 to 344 deaths in 2005), traffic violations cast a black mark on the image of the city. Also the probability of a sharp rise in the accident rate is high with reckless driving.
Autowallah’s and the dreadful ‘Cab’ drivers are the most dangerous, in my opinion. Pressure on the cab drivers to be on time can be an excuse but this cannot be compromised for lives of the fellow men, who use the vulnerable mode of transport (pedestrians, bike riders, etc.). Every driver is taught that the responsibility to drive safe increases in direct proportion to the size of the vehicle; but this teaching remains only in words and not in deeds. I do not intend to say that all the drivers err; but the cost of even a few erring drivers can be very huge.
Some time back, I was riding my bike on the Madhapur main road. I was moving on the left lane and there was a speeding Tata Indica on the right one. All of a sudden, the driver of the car took a left turn. I am damn sure that he did not know about looking over the shoulders when changing lanes, to take care of the blind spot. I took a considerable risk when I sped in my bike and got close to the car. When I asked him the reason for sudden change of lane without consideration for the fellow drivers, he replied indifferently ‘Chalega Chalega!! Jao Jao’. He sped away without an apology, not even waiting for my reply.
We have seen on many instances that enforcing and strengthening the law result in a reduction in offences. So it is high time that the Government steps into this and use some innovative measures to bring order to the traffic. There are already a few steps taken by the Government like spot fine etc. But more stringent actions are needed for the problem in hand.
I feel some actions by the Government, though they may look strange, can put a check to reckless driving and increase awareness:
– Implement Surveillance in almost all the signals. Anybody found jumping the signals must be stopped by any means (chasing, flattening the tyres, etc.) and appropriate action must be taken
– In case of license-less driving, the vehicle must be seized and penalty must be imposed
– In case of drunken driving, the vehicle must be seized and the license must be canceled
– State Government must have a provision to report over speeding of vehicles in their website. If there are more than 2 complaints on the same vehicle number, then the owner of vehicle must be questioned. If required, the license of the vehicle driver must be canceled
– Drivers who take illegal U-Turns or those who drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid taking a U-Turn must be stopped and fined considerably.
These are some steps, which when implemented, can very well improve the condition of traffic here. But the complete success can never be achieved without the involvement and awareness of the drivers; who are responsible for this and who sometimes are the victims too!!
Let’s make the wonderful city of Hyderabad even more beautiful.