Grieving father’s cry for road safety

NEW DELHI: How do you cope when your beautiful, vivacious, college-going daughter dies in a car crash?

Do you dwell on the lost possibilities, on what she could have done with her life, or do you get on with your life, believing it was destiny? It’s not easy to even think about it without tears. But one father has put his personal tragedy behind only to make sure it doesn’t happen to other parents.

Gun Nidhi Dalmia lost his daughter Amba in a car crash near the Masjid Moth flyover on November 19 last year. She was 21. The accident, its cause and the peculiar spot where it took place — where one flyover ended and 100 metres away another started — made Dalmia wonder if similar accidents could be averted. He has in fact written a letter to joint commissioner of police (traffic) Maxwell Pereira, about what is wrong with the two flyovers and other factors capable of causing accidents. Among the factors Dalmia has listed is the fact that towards the end of the Savitri flyover, there is a blind curve in the right lane with no signages indicating its existence. This has no place at the end of flyover.

‘‘The presence of a blind curve should be indicated with a large sign board. These are the minimal international norms in every civilised country,’’ Dalmia says. A large gap in the divider is regularly used by pedestrians to cross
the road and causes problems for drivers who have to swerve suddenly to avoid hitting them. The distance between the Savitri and Chirag Dilli flyovers is also inadequate and in the absence of warning signs, drivers are invariably in a quandary over whether to go on the flyover or under it. The lighting between the two flyovers is also poor. ‘‘In fact, Sukhad Ahuja, the lone survivor of the accident, says this was one factor which caused the accident,’’ Dalmia says.
He adds that there is a need to enforce a speed limit on flyovers as drivers tend to come hurtling down.

Seat belts should be made mandatory for passengers in the rear seat of vehicles as well. Fatal head injuries, he feels, can be avoided with the use of seat belts. ‘‘Monitoring of alcohol consumption above the legally prescribed limit should also be checked strictly,’’ Dalmia says. ‘‘There should be frequent use of breath analysers, as is done in other countries. The legal limit may exist but unless it is enforced seriously by the traffic police it will remain only on paper.’’ This, he feels, is required because more and more people are drinking and driving with impunity. SBut more than anything, what is needed is strict laws governing pedestrian movement in the city. They must not be permitted to cross roads from wherever they like, which can avert many accidents.

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