The number of deaths caused by road accidents in Kolkata has dropped to nearly half of what it was in 2014, said the Kolkata Traffic Police, with senior officers attributing this improvement to the success of the ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ campaign.
“Accidents have reduced drastically with the help of ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ campaign. Now, we have plans to make it more effective. More Red Light Violation Detection (RLVD) cameras and automatic number plate recognition cameras will be installed… We keep examining and identifying accident-prone areas, then action is taken to prevent such incidents. In this campaign, social media plays a vital role. We are able to reach 20 to 25 lakh people easily,” DC (Traffic) Santosh Pandey told The Sunday Express.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too, on a number of occasions, said that the campaign has led to a considerable drop in traffic-related cases in Kolkata.
In 2014, 431 cases were registered while the number of deaths was 450. In 2015, it came down to 412 cases and 422 fatalities. In 2016, the year when the campaign was launched, the number of cases stood at 388 and 407 people died. In 2017, 318 cases involving 329 fatalities were registered. Last year saw 282 cases and 293 deaths — close to half of what the figure was in 2014.
“The latest data available till December 2018 shows a decrease in the number of deaths due to road accidents. Efforts are on to further reduce such accidents,” said a police officer.
The ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ campaign was implemented after the state police and Kolkata Police joined hands with NGO Karmyog Foundation. Launched on July 8, 2016 by the chief minister, the campaign is now being implemented across the state as a considerable number of road accidents are reported on highways and in rural areas. Police are installing cameras at more accident-prone points and providing better equipment and motorbikes to traffic personnel.
Messages are being spread through social media, posters, awareness weeks to stress the need to follow traffic rules. These measures have ensured a reduced number of accidents, said police sources. Police have started issuing e-chalans while imposing fines. This has started in Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts.
CM at administrative meetings
At an administrative meeting in Bolpur last Wednesday, Mamata stressed the need to implement safety rules stringently. She asked the district administration to take measures against errant drivers and implement the ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ programme.
“It is often seen that various types of crimes along with incidents of reckless driving take place during late night and early hours and police vigil in the vulnerable areas should be intensified,” she had said.
During the Kolkata Police’s programme ‘Jai Ho’ last year, the CM had said, “ We have proved that what we (Bengal) think today, India thinks tomorrow… The campaign has cut down the number of accidents.”