October sees high road fatalities in Goa

Non-compliance with traffic rules and unrestricted issuance of licenses play a part in fuelling road tragedies
A scooter rider seen entering a no entry zone.
A scooter rider seen entering a no entry zone.Pic courtesy: Dhiraj Harmalkar

Road accidents in our beautiful tiny state of Goa have become a common phenomenon lately. It is a matter of grave concern to daily commuters. It is a given and Goa’s traffic authorities confirm that driving patiently and following traffic rules will reduce the number of accident deaths.

October 2022 has been deadly for several commuters while many others have been seriously injured. Goa’s roads have become wider and shinier, no doubt, but the question that remains unanswered is ‘Are our roads safe enough for pedestrians, two-wheeler riders and other people who use these roads for day-to-day travel?’

A scooter rider seen entering a no entry zone.
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It has come to light that road fatalities have increased this year as compared to last year. This means that our roads have grown more dangerous and unsafe for people to use, especially pedestrians and two-wheeler riders who are more vulnerable to road accidents.

The information provided by Ashish Shirodkar, DySP Traffic Cell, Panaji, tells us that the total number of accidents in September 2022 was 235 and in 2021 it was 228. There were 27 fatal accidents this year and 17 last year.

Grievous accidents are 21 in number and last year it was 15. Last year there were only 19 deaths in road accidents, but this year 30 persons were killed. Pedestrians killed this year were 11 and last year it was nil. This year, cases booked under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, were 29,830, fewer compared to last year which was 37,615. Although the cases booked under the Motor Vehicles Act may be low, the fine collected this year by the traffic police is higher, that is, Rs 1,96,36,500, while last year it was Rs 42,11,950.

Sign board of 'work in progress' is missing while the road has been dug up.
Sign board of 'work in progress' is missing while the road has been dug up.Pic courtesy: Dhiraj Harmalkar

When questioned about the main reasons behind these accidents, DySP Shirodkar said that over-speeding, no fear of the law, lack of civic sense and responsibility towards others’ safety, etc, are some of the major reasons behind such fatal accidents on the road. He also said that the issuance of driving licenses should be made a stringent process.

Pralhad Desai, Deputy Director of Transport, has a different opinion about the link between accidents and the issuance of driving licenses. Desai said that people are well aware of the signage installed on the road. They should follow the instructions displayed on the signage and drive.

A scooter rider riding without a helmet.
A scooter rider riding without a helmet.Pic courtesy: Dhiraj Harmalkar

October 2022 has witnessed the highest number of road accidents in Goa compared to the previous months of this year. On October 1, a senior journalist met with an accident on road and died the next day while undergoing treatment.

A 20-year-old youth from Sangli died in a vehicle collision on the same day at Usgao Tisk junction. A pedestrian was knocked down at Dabolim junction by a speeding bike and died an agonising death on October 25. A 35-year-old guy from Adpai, Ponda, died in a collision between a bus and a bike at Quelossim. On October 26, an 18-year-old Shreya Kotharkar died on the Dhavli- Ponda road in a mishap between two-wheelers.

Traffic signage seen lying on the footpath at Altinho-Panaji.
Traffic signage seen lying on the footpath at Altinho-Panaji.Pic courtesy: Dhiraj Harmalkar

The majority of road fatalities this year involved youth. The question here is whether people should blame the traffic police and other authorities concerned with road accidents or should we be more careful and patient while driving on the roads.

The traffic police of Goa are conducting road safety awareness in various institutions to decrease road accidents and make the roads safer. Now the ball is in our court, whether we want to obey the traffic rules and be safe or be sorry later.

A scooter rider seen entering a no entry zone.
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