We need a no tolerance attitude towards bad driving- Feb 21, 2012

When you wake up to news of disastrous car crashes two days in a row, you know its time to seethe about the poor traffic sense of the average Indian. Yes, poor road sense is one of the defining features of Indian urbanity- shocking, irritating and amusing, all at the same time!

This morning, as I drove back after dropping my daughter to school, I encountered some classic cases of road misbehavior in a short 15-minute drive. A smart executive was attending to his urgent business call while behind the wheel bang in the center of the road, hogging one half of two lanes. Clearly, the call was more important than his life or other peoples’ time! Impatient drivers continued to drive across a four-way crossing long after their lights had turned red, drastically bringing the time down for our side of the traffic to cross the intersection. Clearly, they needed to get to work before all the rest of us! I could go on…you get the drift, I’m sure!

The thing is, we all condone this sort of behavior. If not indulging in it, we certainly turn a blind eye when our cabbies, drivers or colleagues do the crazy stuff on the roads. Yet, we tut-tutted for real this morning when we read the front page news about two people being run over and killed by a Swift Dezire gone nuts. The media highlighted, of course, the fact that the deed was done by a car cleaner who had driven off with his master’s car!  The fact that many of us who are masters of cars ourselves drive irresponsibly is, apparently, besides the point. Case in point: Yesterday, we read about the guy who killed himself speeding his Lamborghini on narrow, grade-separated city roads!

We need a lot more awareness, stricter licensing and policing, education about road safety and rules starting school level to make things better. But how do we address the larger malaise of impatience and irresponsibility, a feeling that there will be no consequences to bad behavior? How do we understand that on the roads, irresponsibility could mean harm and even death and that someone else may have to pay for our mistakes? And how do we stop blaming the ‘other’ and look to fix ourselves up first!

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on February 21, 2012, in Personal and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The biggest problem, I think, is that there is no stringent test of driving while handing out licences. Getting a licence is a joke! I don’t know if that will fix the Lamborghini driving louts, but at least there will be some check of driving skills.

  2. Road Laws should be uniform throughout the Country,with strict Driving License Rules,2 Wheeler Helmets compulsory, wearing Seat Belts mandatory.Fines should be heavy,Cases should be on Fast Track with drastic sentencing, Licenses cancelled immediately,.Have it all on a national Database.so person cannot get another license through fraudulent means.Due to lack of this over 120,000 people are killed on Roads in India every year causing thousands of crores of Loss,plus Insurance claims.
    The politicians play havoc,people are equally stupid not wearing Helmets,{it causes hair loss}.It took the Madras High Court to make Helmets for 2 wheelers mandatory.Day 1 it was effective but promptly then CM issued Statement saying he had asked Cops to go easy,it loss its teeth.
    Daily you read about young ones dying,95% due to lack of wearing Helmets.
    This is the price we pay.

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