Seat-belts are a must for safe travel

Two cars met with accidents in separate incidents on April 15 at Chandigarh. No one was injured even though the cars were smashed. The Tribune report (April 16) attributed this to divine intervention. Permit me to suggest that in this Kaliyuga, luck and divine intervention too need to be helped out by human ingenuity and perseverance for getting good things done.

Some appreciation needs to be given to the decades-long pressure from consumer activists like Ralph Nader that has resulted in significant changes in car design which ensure safer cars. Two important safety features, crumple zones and seat-belts, came into play in the present instance.

Contemporary cars have a number of crumple zones built into their body. This means that during an impact the car body simply crumples along these lines and acts like a shock absorber taking away the pressure from the occupants within. In simple terms, this implies that the car body takes all the shock while the occupants remain safe.



The occupants of the two cars in question were unhurt also because they were wearing seat-belts. In the absence of seat-belts, even a slight speed of 10 kmph is sufficient to hurl the occupants with considerable force against the car body causing injury. Cars today do not have hard pointed objects inside the seating area, thus reducing the possibility of getting hurt. Yet many of us persist in putting in accessories that increase the number of hard and pointed objects inside the car.

Above all, we need to thank the Chandigarh Police which has been enforcing the seat-belt rule with such persistence that today most car drivers wear seat-belts, thus increasing the safety margin while travelling.

M. Rajivlochan, Department of History, Panjab University, Chandigarh


Apropos of the special feature “Road Safety for a better world” (The Tribune, April 7), the World Health Organisation deserves to be complimented for the concern it has shown for reducing the incidence of road accidents. The list of measures given in the WHO feature on World Health Day needs to be understood, analysed and implemented by one and all.

To my mind, it is worthwhile to understand the economics of preventing the road accidents as the costs of road safety can be covered by savings on preventing crashes and injuries. To provide training to road users, a portion of the funds earmarked for the National Literacy Mission can be diverted, making road safety and training a part and parcel of the literacy programme. There is a strong case for creating Traffic Parks for imparting training to people on the rules of the road. The government should also formulate a policy for issuing driving licences to only those who have undertaken training on the rules of the road.

The quality of our roads is abysmal. India is placed 73rd out of the 75 countries on the road quality of major cities. The less said, the better regarding rural roads. India ranks 47th on the quality of all transport infrastructure. As bad roads are the root cause of most accidents, their quality needs to be improved.

The government should also limit the use of red lights atop its vehicles. The red-light cars are always in a hurry to go. As a result, they commit accidents, hit people and run away. The post-accident harms can be reduced to a considerable extent by providing training to police personnel to behave with a humane approach.

Dr M.M. Goel, Reader in Economics, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra.

Key to good governance

Over the years, elections have become too common and ritualistic. As a result, we have started to develop a comic attitude towards them. This is not a healthy development. We will suffer in the long run if we do not take the elections seriously.

Hung Parliament in the last few years suggests that we, the voters, are also confused over choosing our government. At least in the current elections, we should ensure that there is no hung Lok Sabha. The ruling party should have an absolute majority in the House so that it can implement its agenda successfully without any pressure from its allies.

If we want good governance, we should vote for the best party that would also attain an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. This is one way of ensuring that the next government works for a full five-year term.


Party hoppers

Apropos of the letter “Party hopping at its peak” (April 15), by its very definition, today an honest politician is not one who can't be bought, rather the one who once bought, remains bought!

Vivek Khanna, Panchkula

Outside the syllabus

In “Macro Economics” question paper (BA II, Panjab University), two questions in Section E (a) and (j) were from outside the syllabus. The syllabus was changed by the university for the examinees of 2004 session. But these selected questions pertained to the 2003 syllabus. All evaluators should compensate the students for the same. After all, examinees should not be made to suffer for the lapse of the paper-setter.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |