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No Fear No Favour

Speed Breakers Or Life Breakers?

Every day, thousands of accidents take place across the world due to many reasons. It can be carelessness of the drivers, the pedestrians, automobile issues. But one of the major reason is speed bumps or speed breakers. Designed to slow down speeding vehicles, they bring upon doom to the drivers, and indirectly to their loved ones. In the end, they take more lives than they probably save, especially in India.

In India, they cause as many as 30 crashes daily, killing at least nine people a day. Government reports have suggested that this has been the average for two years and this might be the average now also.

People will be surprised to know that speed breakers in India claimed more lives (3,409 in 2015) than all road accidents in Australia and the UK (2,937 deaths in 2015) put together. But what is the truth behind these figures? What might be the reasons? Well, faulty design, poor material and lack of prominent markings make them dangerous for road users. In many places, people even make DIY bumpers without having any prior knowledge of the precautions to be taken while doing so. “This is a menace across the country. We have speed breakers on every road which can break your bones and damage your vehicle,” admitted Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

It is a must that only after proper assessment, speed breakers should be built and they should only come up at designated locations. This has been promised by Nitin Gadkari. While the Ministry has instructed highway-owning agencies to remove all speed breakers from the main carriageways, it says it can only advise states to follow norms for their roads and urban areas.

So what are the right time and right place to build speed breakers? First of all, they should be built in areas where minor roads meet a major road so that the oncoming traffic can slow down to avoid any mishaps. Also, an area should be assessed as to what extent it is crash-prone.

The material used for the speed breakers needs to be evaluated. Sometimes, cheap quality materials are used which might result in fatal accidents. Proper signs should be put up so that people will know that there is a speed breaker ahead and that they approach it slowly. Due to an ad hoc approach towards road design and traffic management, there is a rush to find a quick fix. As a result, people have their satisfaction met with and the engineers heave a sigh of relief and not look for long-term solutions.

It is an accepted fact that drivers will make mistakes, as goes the saying, “To err is human”. But it is also a responsibility to ensure that these mistakes are not caused on a daily basis and to improve the condition of roads.

By: Anamika Bhaumik

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