Inspector General of Police, Thrissur Range, B. Sandhya has stressed the need to develop a new road safety culture in view of the increasing road accidents in the State.
Addressing a road safety awareness programme organised by the Regional Transport Office here on Wednesday, she said lack of a road culture and scant regard for traffic rules were the reasons for spurt in accidents.
“Kerala has the highest road accident rate in the country. Over 3,800 lives are lost on State's roads each year. About 40 per cent of the victims are two-wheeler riders. Many more road users suffer permanent disability following the accidents,” she said.
The increase in accidents could be attributed to many factors, she said. “The rapidly shrinking road space in view of the ever-increasing vehicle population is a major factor. Road users seldom adhere to traffic rules. Utter disrespect for the rights of others is the reason for the disregard of traffic rules. Two-wheeler riders often do not wear helmet. Pedestrian's safety has never been considered,” she said.
The State needed an effective road safety action plan, Ms. Sandhya said.
Officials and the public should join hands for the effective implementation of the road safety action plan to ensure the safety of all road users, she said.
“Road safety classes should be conducted at educational institutions regularly. Rules should be made stringent against drunken driving.”
The evaluation of campaigns aimed at improving road safety is still the exception rather than the rule. Because of this, ineffective campaigns and campaign techniques are allowed to continue to be utilised without question, while new methods of behaviour modification are often ignored. Therefore, the necessity and advantages of formally evaluating road safety campaign efforts are discussed. This article also describes the pros and cons of some of the more common campaign strategies and introduces a number of new methods that show a great deal of promise for the purpose of road safety campaigns. In order to infuse the field of road safety campaigning with such new insights into road user behaviour and behavioural modification, one should look beyond the confines of road safety campaign standards and learn from the knowledge gained in other disciplines such as economics and social psychology. These new insights are discussed in terms of their implications for the future of road safety campaigns.