GUWAHATI, Sept 3 � Reckless driving and shortage of traffic police personnel coupled to poor road infrastructure have made Guwahati�s roads a veritable death trap at night. In recent times the increase in vehicle numbers has made the problem more acute. A spate of accidents has been reported from roads in around the city, and innocent lives have been lost in mishaps.
Doctors at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and a few nursing homes revealed that they have received more casualties from road accidents in recent times compared to the past. �Many of the accidents lead to serious impairments� some of them could have been prevented if the victim was more cautious, or the driver was careful,� said Dr Gunajit Talukdar, a private practitioner.
Injuries range from bruises to life threatening head injuries, and the largest group appears to be young and middle aged males, as they are the ones who move around the city at night in greater numbers. According to doctors, the largest category of victims would be pedestrians and two-wheeler riders.
Doctors point out that many of the accidents involving two wheelers were serious in nature just because the riders were not wearing helmets.
A police official who wished anonymity said that reckless driving at night is the biggest factor contributing to road accidents which take place. �Drivers with no regard to traffic rules have emerged as serious threats. Drunken driving is another reason behind a large number of mishaps,� he said.
Although automated traffic lights have been installed in important intersections, many drivers continue to pay no heed putting lives at peril. Jumping traffic lights is a frequent occurrence at night because there is scanty police presence.
The situation is of serious concern as police personnel in many areas are absent from their posts after eight at night. Citizens have informed The Assam Tribune that busy intersections like the one near the TC School, and at Pan Bazar often go unmanned immediately after the evening rush hours.
Poor illumination on some arterial routes has been recognized as another cause of accidents. Motorists at times are unaware of roads being dug up, or obstructions ahead, which lead to mishaps otherwise preventable. Barely a kilometer from the city center, a culvert has been dug up in Uzan Bazar, which has restricted the traffic flow to one lane. However, till the writing of this report the spot remains in darkness due to absence of street lighting.