The New Year is greeted with much joy & celebration. Leading up to the new year, people are happy, full of hope for the ensuing year and everyone likes to leave their troubles behind, and let their hair down. Some people celebrate to forget a bad year gone-by, others to toast what has been a splendid year. There are parties, gatherings and galas all over the place. Everything culminates in the biggest night of them all- the new year’s eve – on the 31st of December.
However, in the midst of all the revelry, the roads across India present a very morbid and contrary picture. In a country that witnesses 13 road deaths each hour (adding up to 1.4 lac road deaths each year), it is ironically enough, the New Year’s eve, that sees a sharp increase in road-related casualties!
It is also no surprise then, that 50% deaths are of pedestrians, cyclists & bikers. Inebriated passenger car & commercial vehicle drivers lose the sense of proportion by taking their celebrations onto the roads. The result – pedestrians are targeted unwittingly, falling prey to the menacing drunk driving of new year’s eve party revelers. Bikers too, high on life and various other substances, bring in the new year by driving at lighting fast speeds, screaming and racing, not caring about laws, safety, or anything else!
Again, the fall-out is alarming – deaths in uncountable & shameful numbers on roads, that become unsafe places. To add to that, several parts of the country experience thick fog, that reduces visibility and makes it even more dangerous for people to be out & about.
One could argue that the solution is stricter policing and enforcement of laws on the roads. But the fact is, most of our police personnel is also in the holiday cheer, with their primary motive not to reduce road-casualty, but to make a quick buck!
It is shocking how unsafe our roads are, especially on the most celebratory night of the year. But the sad truth is, if you want a safe passage into the next year, the roads are not the best route to take. A road to change, is most desperately needed!