Lucknow: Concerned over frequent road accidents taking a heavy toll in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the authorities to make the wearing of helmets compulsory and ensure that drivers wear seatbelts, never drive in an inebriated state or talk on a mobile phone or listen to music using headphones.
The directive came against the backdrop of the death of 13 school children in Kushinagar on Friday, where a train rammed into a van carrying them as the driver was allegedly listening to music using a headphone and did not notice the train at the unmanned level crossing.
The chief minister held a high-level meeting of police and transport department officials and asked the people to follow traffic rules for their own safety and that of others, an official spokesperson said here today.
“One should drive carefully and follow traffic rules. Only then their life, as well as that of others travelling on roads, will be safe,” Adityanath said, pointing out that the negligence of a van driver led to the accident in Kushinagar.
He said schools have to be made responsible for operating vehicles as per rules.
“If everyone follows traffic rules, chaos on roads will end and many accidents which cost precious lives can be averted. It is a great challenge for officials to regulate traffic properly and to compel commuters to follow rules,” the chief minister said.
“There are people riding two-wheelers without helmets and those not wearing seatbelts in four-wheelers, even school vehicles are not following all the rules. Students in large number travel on rickshaws and open three-wheelers. The transport department has been asked to prepare a new plan for it,” he said.
Adityanath said the number of vehicles on roads were increasing by each day and without the support of people, the traffic police would not be able to handle the situation effectively.
The chief minister suggested spreading awareness about the importance of obeying traffic rules, especially among students and said road safety must be included in the curriculum of primary and secondary classes.
He also stressed on the need for holding regular camps to check the fitness of drivers and vehicles.
“Surprise checking of fitness of buses and their drivers should be initiated,” the chief minister said, and directed officials to take stern action against stunt bikers as several causalities were reported because of reckless driving.
To ensure better traffic management and minimise the death rate during accidents, he asked officials to prepare a blueprint of traffic management in each district and strictly implement them.
The police, transport, health and education departments should jointly prepare a plan for road safety, he said.
Meanwhile, a senior Uttar Pradesh minister today said that he will request the chief minister to bring a bill in the state legislature to ban the use of earphones while driving and walking on the road.
“People using earphones while walking on road or driving are a major reason for accidents. The driver of the school van (in Kushinagar) had also plugged in earphones which is why he did not notice the approaching train,” labour minister Swami Prasad Maurya said.