The tragic accident leading to the death of three members of the same family which included the father, mother and their two-year-old child at Barik Point on Saturday raised a major question about the safety of driving along the highways especially during the night hours with truck drivers taking their ‘monster machines’ along the highway and that too in an inebriated condition showing no mercy, leave alone respect for human life.
The statistics which shows a graphic proof of this matter, is available with the police and it can be ascertained that the trucks in Meghalaya have become the ‘violent vehicles of death’ on the highways with as many as 331 persons losing their lives due to reckless driving of government and private trucks alone out of the total road accident deaths of 1147 in the past seven years.
Besides causing traffic congestion and pollution, the trucks have become major killers with the police citing the reason of less manpower to tackle the situation.
In 2011, out of the total death of 237 persons and injuries to 1291 persons, the majority of 74 people- 69 male and 5 female- lost their lives in accidents which included direct involvement of trucks.
Seven bikers were also killed after being hit by trucks on the highways.
The unfortunate victims of truckers’ menace
While seven people were killed in accidents involving both trucks and Jeep, 18 people, 16 males and females were killed due to truck-car collision last year.
The number of persons killed in bus related accidents last year was 25 and car related accidents amounted to 10.
There is an upward trend in the total number of persons killed in accidents over the past few years. As per the official record of the police for the last seven years, the road accidents claimed lives of 234 persons in 2011 and the total death was 184 in 2010,followed by 193 in 2009, 149(2008), 133(2007) 132(2006) and 122 in 2005.
The numerous loss of lives indicate that deaths caused by accidents in Meghalaya are more than the deaths caused by natural calamities, militancy, other crimes and diseases.
The road safety week in Meghalaya from January 1 to 7 passed off without any tangible results if one goes by the deaths caused by accidents in January this year alone.
Nine persons including a four-year-old boy from West Garo Hills was killed in road accident in the first month of 2012.
Besides drinking and rash driving, overtaking by vehicles have also added to the problem of recurring road accidents.
A senior police official admitted that the breath analyzer or alcometer to carry out the spot testing of drivers to know whether they consumed liquor could not be used in Meghalaya for many years.
The old fashioned equipment purchased seven years ago could not be used and they were sent for repair, the senior police official said.
In the absence of a functional alcometer, the drivers are usually taken to hospitals for testing, but in many cases by the time they reach the hospitals, test results would no
t be accurate due to the delay.
“We are enforcing the rule as far as speed limit and rash driving is concerned. Mobile courts are also being held occasionally and the people should be more aware of the dangers of violation of traffic rules”, he said.
“We also need to check the fitness of trucks plying on the national highway to arrest the trend of rise in the number of accidents involving the trucks,” he added.
With less manpower to man the traffic in the state, the police wanted the citizens and the drivers of vehicles to abide by the traffic rules to contain road accidents.