Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 1.30 AM IST

Ensuring road safety: The crucial role of warning signs and accountability


Road safety is ensured not only by the width of roads, drivers who do not violate traffic rules and the technology of vehicles but also by road signs that specify road conditions. Unfortunately, most of the road construction sites in the state, including national highway developments, do not have any signboards to warn drivers of potential dangers or caution them! Accidents due to the lack of such signboards are increasing day by day. With rains pouring down in the state and the roads and sides being waterlogged, it is necessary to travel at night and even during the day with life in hand.

In the tragic incident where an ambulance and a car collided in Kasaragod Manjeswaram last day, three people died and in Thiruvananthapuram Mangalapuram, where a cooking gas tanker overturned, the cause of the accident was the lack of signboards. The accident at Kasaragod was caused by the lack of direction signs on the approach from another road to the national highway. On the other hand, in Mangalapuram, the accident occurred due to the fact that the service road under construction was not closed, and the tanker that entered it was covered in mud. The main function of signboards is not to indicate the place name, but to give a clear warning to drivers and pedestrians about road conditions and potential dangers.

In the case of national highways, the responsibility for putting up such signboards rests with the company contracted for the road development works. Elsewhere, the boards should be established by the Public Works Department or contracting agency. However, neither the government nor the police, who take a ruthless attitude towards the public and impose heavy fines for traffic violations have imposed any penalty on the concerned agencies for not installing warning boards or taken legal action against them for the accidents caused due to that! Sad thing is that no one feels remorse or guilt over the loss of a human life due to the absence of a signpost.

Actions such as the installation of signboards stating the potential hazards on the road should be made more stringent in the Road Safety Act and legal action should be taken against those who fall foul of it, whether it is a government department or a contracting agency. When accidents happen, blaming each other and shirking responsibilities is a common practice. The only loss is to the family of the accident victims. Roads should be widened and modernized. Along with this, proper signage is part of the road safety awareness and culture that needs to be developed. No human life should be lost on the road due to the lack of warning signs. In this regard, not only the government but also the contracting agencies and their appointed officials have equal responsibility. Road signs in the state are an indicator of travel safety.

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