Reducing the high death toll on our Toll-Way!
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Reducing the high death toll on our Toll-Way!

July 2, 2023

By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD

It is for the third time in a very short span of time that I am writing about this subject and I hope and pray that I don’t feel compelled to write about it once again. But if we look back, not a single day passes without our new Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway making its presence in the news. And, sadly it is all only for the wrong reasons and for making some very distressingly sad news.

More than sixty precious lives have been lost this year alone, in accidents along its comparatively short length and the total death toll over the last one year has crossed a hundred and ten, which is nothing short of being an appalling disaster. Many people, perturbed by this and fearful of using it, now prefer to drive along the older portions of the road or even take the Malavalli – Kanakapura road to reach Bengaluru safely, albeit slowly. So, it is very clear that our new Highway is not just extracting a very high toll in terms of the money we are all paying to use it, but also a much higher toll in terms of the lives that are being lost on it, day after day.

Although this deadly trend became apparent quite early, ever since we started using this Highway, nothing much has been done to prevent it, except by way of holding academic discussions. Yes, that is all we have been doing over the past so many months. We regularly read reports and even see pictures of endless inspections and assessments being made by various technical bodies, every few days. But all these actions have unfortunately not yet set in motion any practical measures to end the problem.

Our authorities must realise that at a time of war, academic discussions serve no purpose, because what is needed to win any war is action. And, action is what we are just not seeing, although the problem we are facing is nothing short of a war. It would not have needed this much time since the accidents began, for our authorities to install speed radars and CCTV cameras along the Highway to monitor the behaviour of road users and start booking them for wrongdoing.

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Procuring the infrastructure to put this in place, must certainly have been thought of at the time of planning this huge project. It is something that is well in place along many of our other Highways that have been built over the recent years. So, the question is, why are we seeing such a painful delay in commissioning it here? And, if this was not thought of, as a very essential requirement, while planning this Highway, it needs to be counted as a monumental lapse and the people responsible for it should be held accountable.

Without anyone or any system to check their transgressions, the behaviour of our road users has to be seen to be believed. Everybody seems to think that just because long open stretches are available for them, they can test the limits of their vehicles and driving skills, in their quest for adventure and excitement. More than eighty percent of cars exceed the speed limit and keep jumping lanes as if in a video game. And almost all the trucks, buses and other slower vehicles, that cannot twist and turn easily, invariably drive on the wrong lanes, for long distances, next to each other, obstructing the smooth flow of the rest of the traffic.

Just a few days ago, as I was driving just under the stipulated speed limit on the Mandya bypass segment, a high-end limousine overtook me at breakneck speed with two small, excited kids, putting half their bodies out of the open sunroof and waving out wildly to all the other vehicles. Their grinning parents, without realising their own stupidity in exposing their kids to the extreme peril of indulging in this kind of fun, seemed to be supremely happy in showing off their expensive car and its abilities.

There was no need for an accident, to occur to cause any harm to their little ones. Just the need to brake and slow down a little, to avoid one, would have been enough to send both of them flying out of the open roof like two torpedoes, with ghastly consequences. I was so perturbed by this sight that I decided to risk exceeding the speed limit, to overtake their car just to flag it down and make their parents aware of the extreme danger of what they were letting their kids do. But my car and my driving skills combined, were just no match to even draw close to them, although I held on to my pursuit relentlessly till they entered the Channapatna-Ramanagara bypass where I lost sight of them, after I decided that taking the risk myself was not worth pursuing my good intentions.

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All I could do was just pray for the safety of those two kids and the happiness of their utterly foolish parents! Because it is one of the most unsafe things to do, I feel that driving with children standing, with their bodies jutting out of sunroofs should be completely banned by law, on all our roads.

Our new Highway by itself, has a good many design flaws which is a fact known to all experienced road users but which is vehemently being denied by the authorities who built it and their political mentors in their attempts to justify their actions. One glaring example is the complete absence of lay-bys at frequent intervals, where we can safely park our vehicles in times of need and wait for help. And, although as of now they are absent, we are being told that all those very essential wayside amenities like fuel stations, rest-rooms, restaurants and repair stations will eventually be provided.

Although some of its faults are likely to be accepted by the authorities, sometime in the future, due to compelling evidence, not all of the faults can be corrected easily now or in the future too. So, the best and perhaps the only way of reducing needless deaths on this Highway, before it becomes more infamous, is to electronically monitor traffic flow, like speed and lane discipline and penalise all violations with very stiff penalties. And, these penalties should be high enough to effectively deter even the high and mighty and the rich and powerful. There seems to be just no other way, for safety and happiness to come this way!

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5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Reducing the high death toll on our Toll-Way!”

  1. A prolonged civic awareness campaign with Safety Tips and Messages for using a high speed expressway, together with graphic images of consequences when not followed is critical. Mass education and a change in road safety culture is required.

  2. Sanjay Kini says:

    Generally it is the wealthy who do like this, I mentioned wealthy because the rich know the value of their life and will be careful on the expressway while wealthy are the new rich people from middle class backgrounds who huave become rich due to IT revolution , selling of their farm lands etc.These. People have money but don’t know how to behave in society , classic example is the car with kids waving through the sun roof.The rich would have travel abroad or lived abroad know the very fact that children can’t sit in front row of the car for safety and they need to be made to sit in the back row with seat belts fastened.The incident you mentioned shows lack of worldly knowledge of the high end car driver/ parents.Also the rich might have experienced lane discipline in foreign countries auto bahns (highways) and will follow them when they drive in India.
    Even the recent incidents of peeing and defecating in a certain airline shows that a certain class of people called wealthy really don’t know how to behave in society or handle their new found wealth responsibly.
    My. Suggestion to tackle the speeding of cars till we get the necessary infrastructure of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)cameras and speed radars is to add a feature to the toll software.Now that toll is collected at both starting and end point of expressway let the software have a time calculating feature if te time of the scanning of fast tag at the starting and end point is less than a particular threshold then it means the driver is involved in over speeding and automatically te fast tag should deduct INR1000/- fine.This will make sure the drivers drive at optimum speed and reach toll booths at stipulated time.Will this feature deter drivers only time will tell.

  3. Joseph Mundassery says:

    Hey Sanjay Kini
    Here I am a 80 year old person with senility commenting on your verbal diarrhoea, you have dished out.
    Here you are suffering yet again from the Googlitis, this time, suggesting automatic number plate recognition system, which your idiotic brain thinks, will solve the problem.
    Your small brain, with a limited number of brain cells, is unable to grasp the fact that there are so many unregistered and unlicensed cars in India, here too, that these number plates will lead to no where. Fake plates are used by criminals, in case, their speeding is detected, and these plate numbers are picked from the list of cars oflaw-abiding citizens.
    BTW, you do not know, how to use the terms “wealthy” and ” rich”, and you are mixing them.
    Back to school, @Sanjay Kini, this time doing the homework in English, by yourself!
    Most importantly, get treatment for your Schizophrenia, born out of drug addiction. You can be a danger to the society with this illness.

  4. Sam says:

    Hello Javeed Nayeem
    Even so called well trained doctors in the hospitals un Mysore, kill patients through wrong diagnoses, which occur very often. Hence, not trusting your collegues , the cardiologists in Mysore, you visyed England, a few months go, to get your cardiac illness checked out. Reckless actions have become second nature for Indians.
    Indians have become reckless in their pursuit, and there is nothing one could do in stopping this mayhem occurring in this highway, at a time, when massive numbers of cars are using it. Drivers, thinkig that this highway will help them to cut the driving time, realise that it is in fact increasing the travel time, get frustrated, and indulge in activities that result in deaths to themselves and others.
    The population of India is so high that only mass transit systems like the trains can solve the transport problems. This highway is a massive mistake. The rail tracks between Mysore-Bangalore, quadrupled and train schedules varied with no-stops to limited stops, would have helped.

  5. Kindari Jogi says:

    Hello Sanjay Kini
    I too was honoured that you included me in your list of 80 year old senile person! It is just that my age is half of that, and I comment on your post because, like this one posted with a very lengthy meaningless rant, you often show your delusion, by suggesting, various technological solutions, which you pick up trawling the Web. You do not have the mental ability to delve deep into finding out whether such solutions, in this case the recognition systems are effective
    In England and in in Europe, where the automatic recognition systems are used, the speeding car plates present partial views, often blurred, and even with the AI software, they are not effective in catching the majority of drivers of vehicles who committed the offence. In these Western countries, all vehicles with their number plates appear in the government-maintained vehicle data base. Yet, the fines issued to wrong people, as a result’of the technological deficiencies, are successfully challenged in courts. There is waste of police time and resources.
    ence, police with speed guns are deployed. In lawless India, these systems are of little help, as Indians are adept using various methods of evasion.
    But, you have to show off your so called superior knowledge. That is the state of your hallucination-inflicted brain.
    You see, @Sanjay Kini, you are just a wastrel, a conceited scoundrel, who are in total state of mental illness. You should seek the medical treatment you urgently require.
    Lastly, my name is: ” Kindari Jogi”, not “Kindari Joginder”. Idiot, you insult the revered Kuvempu, who wrote such a beautiful poem for kids.


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