Vehicles Parked on Highways and Roadsides Put Peoples’ and Motorists Lives at Risk
Mangaluru: There have been a large number of accidents, where people have been dead or severely injured, when the vehicles they have been travelling had rammed into parked vehicles on national highways and also on roadside on major streets, like in front of police stations, where they parked the seized or accident related vehicles. And especially when the highways and roads are not well lit, chances of such accidents are more- and the government nor National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) authorities have not done much in rectifying this serious safety issue, which pose danger to the lives of motorists and people.
You know how highways in India seemed to be lined with illegally parked vehicles, especially trucks? And one such example is on the stretch of highway road starting from Panambur until Baikampady, where hundreds of trucks are lined along the roadside, putting the lives of motorists in danger. Ever since the new Motor Vehicles Act came into effect, the conversation around safe driving and other tangential subjects has decidedly picked up pace in the country. While the amendments to the Act tend to a variety of issues and challenges that pose a risk to road users, it still misses out on addressing several other related issues. Thankfully, the government has been steadily working on other means to contend with those too, with the latest set of measures aimed at preventing people from illegally parking their vehicles on highways.
Sources reveal that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has now roped in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in its endeavour to take action against people who park their vehicles illegally on national highways and thus put peoples’ lives at risk. But not much has been done till now, as the concerned authorities have turned a blind eye towards this problem, and therefore we see many accidents because of this problem.
Up till now, the agency did not not have the jurisdiction to take action against illegally parked vehicles on the countrys’ highway or even in service lanes. So far it only has the authority to tow vehicles. However, MoRTH has issued new notification that will endow NHAI with the requisite authority.
A NHAI project director and highway administrator speaking to Team Mangalorean said “Under Section 24 and 27 of the Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002, all project directors can take decisions on issues related to maintenance of land and traffic management on highways.” This means that the agency can now not only slap violators with challans, but also confiscate the vehicles and auction them off in case the fine isn’t paid within a week. Besides NHAI, MoRTH has also provided the necessary decision-making powers for land and traffic management on highways to the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) as well as the national highway wing of the public works department.
The aforementioned notification now also allows them to remove encroachers, prevent illegal occupation of highway land and also recover the cost for removing such setups. Also, NHAI can now refuse, regulate, or divert any proposed or existing access to the highway or even close off the highway for traffic.It must be noted that this is just a notification and that the government is putting together an extensive standard operating procedure so as to clarify all details about the involved processes, including that about trials of offenders. After it is implemented, people who park their vehicles illegally on highways will be given a week to pay the fines and then claim, as per the NHAI official. Well explained by this official, but are they doing their job right, is the question of the hour. Bribe and corruption of NHAI officials and highway police are to be blamed for the non-action and negligence, which leads to a number of deaths in this regard.
Our highways are also filled with slow moving vehicles. Unmarked vehicles like tractors, trucks and other heavy vehicles often take the right most lane and cause accidents. These slow moving vehicles become even more dangerous during night time and low visibility conditions like fog. Motorists need to be on a lookout for such vehicles. If you see a vehicle moving ahead in your lane, be cautious and try to judge its speed. Change lane if required because such vehicles do not let you pass.
Many heavy vehicles like trucks and buses park on the shoulder of the highways when they break down. Such vehicles do not have any warning sign or reflective triangles placed behind them which makes them highly dangerous. Many highways do not have lights which make them a top threat. Therefore, never overtake from the extreme left lane as such parked vehicles can show up unannounced causing major crashes. Holy Cow! Another obstacle other than parked vehicles by the roadside, are the openly roaming stray animals, like cows and dogs. The animals often sit or stand in the middle of the road in the night causing a major threat to motorists. Cattle which are bigger in size pose the biggest threat. There are few bulls seen near Panambur-baikampady areas, which wander on to the road, posing danger to the moving traffic. They can’t be detected easily at night because they do not reflect much light.
At high speeds, hitting such animals can be life threatening. We often read about motorists running into cattle and sustaining fatal injuries and one should be very, very careful while driving on highways especially at night. Always be extra vigilant while crossing through cities. Most motorists prefer to take the wrong carriageway on the highways instead of going ahead and taking a U-Turn. Such vehicles pose a huge threat and cause major accidents. There have been accidents reported where vehicles on the right way swerved trying to save the vehicle coming from the wrong side. Mostly, motorcycles are involved in such accidents. If you see a vehicle on the wrong side, slow down and make sure that you announce your position by flashing the high beam and using the horn.
Even though most cities have an over bridge for pedestrians, people generally cross the road by walking across it. Pedestrians crossing are extremely dangerous as they become unpredictable when they see an oncoming vehicle at a high speed. Pedestrians are also hard to spot, especially during night time. If you sense someone is crossing the road, it is always better to slow down and give enough time to the pedestrian to cross the road safely. Heavy Vehicles, mostly those carrying fuel, are often seen parked on either side of the single road highway between Panambur- Baikampady, and this chokes the movement of vehicular traffic among others. The truck drivers often park their vehicles on both sides of the national highway and this creates a lot of problems for vehicular traffic, and the risk of accidents is very high. It’s about time that the concerned authorities enforce the orders to keep the highway clean and prevent more accidents. It’s not one or two trucks standing on the road, but there have always been long queues as a bunch of them are parked together on the road, along the said stretch of the road.