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Road Safety Crisis

By Ajaz Rashid

The first half of 2023 has unfolded in Kashmir with a deeply troubling narrative – a surge in road accidents, claiming 135 lives. The figures are more than just numbers; they are lives cut short, families shattered, and communities left grieving. These incidents should not be accepted as mere statistics; they demand immediate and comprehensive action from authorities, law enforcement agencies, and the community at large. Road Safety Crisis

The data reveals a grim reality. Since the beginning of the year, a staggering 1064 road accidents have been reported in the valley, painting a grim picture of road safety. The statistics show that no region in Kashmir has been untouched by this crisis. Srinagar, Anantnag, Budgam, Kulgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Pulwama, Shopian, Baramulla, Kupwara, Handwara, and Sopore – each has witnessed its share of accidents and fatalities.

The Traffic Police officials have rightfully expressed concern over these distressing numbers. It’s commendable to see the efforts put in place to combat this alarming issue. Special drives against traffic violations, awareness programs, and various enforcement measures have been implemented to address the root causes of these accidents. E-Challaning, breath analyzers, and speed radar systems are all welcome initiatives in the pursuit of road safety.

Furthermore, the commitment to take strict actions against habitual violators, including the cancellation of driving licenses and vehicle registrations for those involved in fatal accidents, is a step in the right direction. However, these actions must be swiftly and consistently enforced to deter reckless behavior on the roads effectively.

Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies, road safety is a shared responsibility. It’s crucial for every driver to recognize the role they play in ensuring safer roads. Following traffic rules is not a mere obligation but a moral responsibility. Equally important is the role of the community at large. Families, schools, and local leaders can play an influential role in fostering a culture of responsible road use. Educational initiatives and community-led campaigns can raise awareness about the consequences of reckless driving and the importance of following traffic rules.

The surge in road accidents in Kashmir is not just a statistical anomaly; it’s a collective failure. It’s a failure of individuals to prioritize safety, a failure of enforcement to deter violations effectively, and a failure of society to promote responsible road behavior. It’s high time we reverse this trend and make our roads safer for everyone. Lives depend on it, and that is a responsibility we cannot afford to neglect.

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