The Indian traffic news is nothing to rave about considering the fact that harmonious anarchy thrives on the roads of its metros.
In Capital Delhi, for instance, during rush hours at various busy crossings, drivers clamour for every inch of space, rev up engines at red lights and jackrabbit their way through the traffic maze. Minor bumps and dents are part of the package deal inviting nothing more than a few invectives.
But chances are you won’t hear that above the din of honking cars and buses. Drivers blow horns to express resentment at being blocked by other vehicles or stray cattle or even when potholes and speed breakers stand in their way. That is not all. When they want others to sit up and notice their glitzy, new acquisition, honking is the best ploy. After all, neighbour’s envy is owner’s pride.
110 million violations daily
No wonder, a study carried out by the Institute of Road Traffic Education’s Centre for Analysis & Research in Road Safety between September and October 2005 revealed that motorised vehicles commit a staggering 110 million violations of traffic rules every day in Delhi. Of these, 30 million are forced due to faulty traffic engineering system.
Untrained bus drivers
What is more, a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Driver and Training Research found that nearly a quarter of Delhi’s public bus drivers lack basic driving skills and hundreds of them have vision problems. Now you know why buses on Delhi’s roads mow many down.
The Delhi traffic news becomes even grimmer if you go by a referral survey report of the Indian Medical Association. Forty five per cent of those found driving at night were under the influence of alcohol. There were about 15 lakh helmet violations per day while 10 lakh violations were for using cell phone while driving.
Pedestrians bear the brunt
And who bears the brunt? Of the 1,800 average fatalities in the Capital per year, 42 per cent are pedestrians, 11 per cent are cyclists and one per cent two-wheeler riders.
Amid all this chaos, the introduction of the state-of-the art metro came as a breath of fresh air but the unruly Delhites didn’t spare the city’s pride during the recent traders’ bandh. The shattered metro glasses bear mute testimony to the fact that there is a long way to go before Delhites inculcate traffic discipline.
The Gurgaon traffic news is equally bleak though the sanctioning of the metro has triggered expectations of better connectivity and speed in commuting.