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Enforce speed limit, demand activists

Traffic flow at the Head Post Office traffic junction in Tiruchi being regulated.M.Moorthy

The district administration’s recent announcement notifying speed limits for vehicles in the city limits may has evoked mixed reaction from motorists. But civic activists have largely welcomed the move and called for effective enforcement to check accidents.

Collector K.Rajamani announced recently that a speed limit of 30 km for all vehicles between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. within the city limits. Motorists can drive at a speed of 40 km after 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. The notification was apparently based on discussion at the District Road Safety Council.

He said the stipulation has been fixed in an attempt to check accidents and urged motorists to strictly conform to the speed limits while driving within the city. But in a city where traffic rules are violated with impunity, the announcement has been met with scepticism in certain sections. While civic activists come up with a host of complaints against law enforcers for accidents, police and transport authorities often blame drivers. Poor enforcement of traffic rules tops the grievances of civic activists. The police, on the other hand, say that drunken driving and over-speeding were major reasons for most of the accidents. But this again points to lack of enforcement, say civic activists.

“We have been demanding that fixing of speed limits for vehicles within the city. Recently, the rural police did so and put up sign boards indicating the speed limit. Studies indicate that over speeding is an important reason for accidents. We hope that the Collector’s announcement fixing the speed limit will help bring down accidents,” said M.Sekaran, member, District Road Safety Council, and president, Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations.

“For a very long time, there has not been a single sign board indicating the speed limit for vehicles in the city. So the move is welcome and sign boards should be put up. Speed limit should be reasonable and can vary from road to road, depending on traffic density and peak hours. The speed limit can be 40 km on some wide roads with less traffic. Besides, the timings can be relaxed – the 30 km limit can be enforced between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.,” observed S.Pushpavanam, secretary, Consumer Protection Council. Roads are meant for vehicles but there were few roads in the city where motorists can drive at reasonable speed, he added.

Welcoming the move, N.Ramakrishnan, a civic activist, described it as a timely and bold decision. “It meets an urgent need. We cannot be oblivious to the loss of lives in road accidents. However, enforcement will be the key. The authorities should ensure that speed governors are fixed on city buses,” he said.

However, given the widespread scepticism among road users on enforcement of traffic rules, Mr. Sekaran concedes that the police and media have to make attempts to publicise and enforce the speed limit. Strict enforcement, if highlighted well by media, can help check over speeding, he says.


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