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Is Chennai now the accident capital?

‘Several killed in road accidents.’

‘Bus rams onto pavement killing four.’

One is so used to these headlines that one doesn’t even bother to go through the gory details. Beware; if stringent steps are not taken to curb this, the next victim could even be you.

Yes, last year it was Tamil Nadu that topped the country in number of road accidents.

Chennai has gone one step ahead this year, and that on a worldwide scale. Based on the Global Report on Urban Health, released by UN-Habitat and WHO, the Metro is second on the list of 47 cities across the world to register the highest rate of road fatalities. Boasted as the Detroit of the East, the city has a very high motor vehicle density. At 44.7 lakh vehicles at the end of March 2014 the blood pressure on the roads can only be high.

Though laws mandate wearing helmets and seat belts, it is seldom followed. Road safety takes a back seat on our city roads. It is necessary for the transport officials to step in and set things right. Stringent laws like cancelling licenses and stepping up road safety awareness would help.

Other Indian cities like Jaipur, Kolkata, Delhi and Bengaluru ranked 4th, 23rd, 24th and 25th respectively. The report suggests measures to reduce accidents, with interventions to reduce speed in urban areas and by making public transportation convenient.

Hopefully one day the city will become a safer place to commute.


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