It was tragic to hear the news that 16 people died in a Tempo Trax accident on Saturday night at Bithal near Rampur. 12 of these were couples and were part of a marriage party. They were going to Kumarsain from Nirmand. The accident happened around 8 pm in the night. This vehicle was at the last and so it going missing was not noticed till the time the marriage party had reached its destination. The vehicle had fallen into a gorge and reached the banks of river Satluj. Only one child was saved and the rest 16 perished. The police claims that the tyre of the vehicle came off and was the reason of the accident.
Tempo Trax has become a nerve center of the rural transport system in rural areas of Himachal. It is basically a 12 seater jeep and ferries upto 20 passengers. Another vehicle is the Mahindra Ballero pick up van where in a special cabinet is fitted to make 5-6 people sit. Now the problem with this mode of transport is that the drivers are ill-trained and have no idea of road safety and regulations. These drivers get there first hand training on another vehicles on the rural roads and once they are through with the basics they don the hot seat, caring two hoots for the safety of other traffic on road. Over speeding on narrow village roads is a norm. Maximum drivers do not have a proper driving licence. Maintenance of these vehicles is another issue as they are serviced by the road side mechanics and normally quick-fix is applied to any major problem in the vehicle.
This issue assumes alarming proportions since safety of the traveling public is involved. The authorities take an reactive approach to the problem instead of a pro active approach. All the authorities do in such cases is announce compensation and the problem on roads is back to square one. The govt can take a start by passing these vehicles for a period of one year and during passing of these vehicles they must check the road worthiness of these vehicles and check all papers and driving licence of the drivers. Any vehicle found missing on any counts should be confiscated.
Moreover road safety rules should be a part of school curricula. In driving schools emphasis may be given on safe driving practices, defensive driving strategies and vehicle safety and maintenance.
Precious human lives must be saved at any cost and the authorities should look into the safety of public at large.