The Madras High Court on Wednesday made it clear that it was concerned about increasing number of fatal road accidents that take place not just because of the failure of the drivers as well as pillion riders to wear helmets, but also because of the poor roads .
Passing interim orders on a Public Interest Litigation petition, a Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad directed the Collectors across the State to furnish within a week a list containing complaints received by them regarding poor maintenance of roads and the action taken so far .
In so far as the Greater Chennai Corporation limits were concerned, the judges directed the Superintending Engineer (Bus Route Road) to furnish a similar list. The directions were issued on the petition filed by R. Murali, a resident of Perungalathur Town Panchayat, complaining about laying of roads without milling.
Earlier in the day, while dealing with another PIL petition related to strict implementation of the helmet rule, the judges directed the State government to issue an Order within a week empowering all police officers from the rank of Sub Inspector of Police, and not just those attached to traffic wing, to act against traffic violators.
The direction was issued since it was reported that there was shortage of Sub Inspectors of Police (Traffic). The court also ordered that the government should take note of the vacancies and make earnest efforts to fill them up at the earliest so that insufficiency of law enforcers does not lead to loss of life.
Additional Advocate General P.H. Arvindh Pandian apprised the court of the steps taken by the police so far for strict implementation of the helmet rule and said that fine amount to the tune of ₹8.27 lakh had been collected from both the drivers and pillion riders in Chennai city alone between August 16 and June 5.
Providing a break up, he said, ₹5.69 lakh had been collected from two-wheeler riders and ₹2.58 lakh from pillion riders for non-compliance of the helmet rule. He also informed the court of the steps taken by the State government for road safety pursuant to the constitution of a national level committee by the Supreme Court last year.
The Traffic Action Plan 2019 devised by the government had insisted upon intensifying awareness campaigns for riding with helmets, identifying accident prone spots, linking CCTV with traffic enforcement monitoring control room and implementation of automatic challan issuing system in all major cities.
Provision of lights at media cuttings and use of rumble strips, flourescent boards and cat’s eye across the State, involving insurance companies in accident prevention since they would be the direct beneficiaries of the move and creating traffic parks in all districts were the other measures that had been planned by the government, he said.
After recording his submissions, the judges adjourned further hearing on the case to June 21.