The road safety begetter

After many states of India taking to this new traffic rule, Telangana has become the latest member to consider to implement the ‘no helmet, no petrol’ policy in the state. Interestingly, the idea was the brainchild of Dr Sreenivaas Puppalaa, the district transport officer of Medchal.

He shares, “I first implemented the concept in Adilabad in June 2016. I took the help of the district S.P. and collector and executed the idea effectively. To sustain the campaign, we started enforcement by cycling 100 kms (from Mancherial to Kaddam) so that we could get feedback from the grass-root level. It yielded great results. I’m thrilled to see the concept gaining nation-wide momentum.” In the last one year, Sreenivaas has introduced many new road safety measures and has even contributed to the effective improvement of accident black spots, winning accolades for his work.

Recently, Sreenivaas underwent a two-week programme, Delft Road Safety Course, at the Delft University of Technology in Netherlands. Notably, out of the 23 experts invited there from across the world, Sreenivaas (and another Australian) were the only ones who did not have to pay a single penny for the 5,100 course. Sreenivaas’ remarkable initiative in his nearly three-decade long experience in the field of road safety enabled him to get the full scholarship. “I constantly keep updating myself about the new road safety measures, and that’s how I came to know about the Delft Road Safety Course. Generally, such courses aim to introduce new traffic safety measures to reduce road accidents in developed countries. Since Netherlands has one of the best practices in the world, they want to extend these safety rules in developing countries too. So they called experts (including me and another man from Bengaluru) from various countries.

He further elaborates, “Out of 12 million deaths worldwide, India accounts for 1.2 million deaths (per year) in road accidents. Since this number is rising constantly, the WHO wanted to reduce the death rate by at least 50 per cent. So they asked the developing countries to implement ‘The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020’, which is on par with the Delft Road Safety Course. The programme is based on five pillars — road safety management, road infrastructure, safer vehicles (vehicle engineering), road user behaviour, post-crash measures (treatment during golden hours).”

The transport officer, who is also a Certified Road Crash Investigator, believes that the course in Netherlands has helped him to formulate and design road safety measures coherently. “I have seen several accidents, so I feel we can save a few lives if people are more responsible wearing helmets and seatbelts. Some people even complain against us saying that we are dealing in an arrogant way, but they need to understand that all this is for their well-being,” he concludes.

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