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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:43   #1
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Default (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

Two Hyderabadis, Bhaarath and Ajay, research about lane discipline to come up with a few suggestions and Lakshman Rekhas for the road transport authorities.

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If you ask the public the reasons for accidents, most say it is due to over speeding, drink and drive and infrastructural challenges. But a majority of the accidents happen because of lack of lane discipline. The cases when the vehicles try to overtake or when they try to change a lane, then they are likely to undergo critical and severe accidents. “As per the Report on Road Accidents in India 2016, published by Transport Research wing under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India; In the year 2016 over 12,257 of 1,50,785 road accident deaths happen due to overtaking and when changing lanes, this number is greater than the combined road accidents deaths due to Speed breakers and pot holes which are accounted at 5,720 fatalities,” says Patchamatla Sai Bhaarath Varma and Muchakurthi Ajay Kumar, who have been researching on roads and lane discipline.

The former is a Chartered Accountant and the latter is a Btech graduate and the friends have recently studied the roads and road symbols in other countries, especially in the UK and Europe to come up with suggestions to make the Indian roads safer. Says Bhaarath, “India spends more time behind the wheels more than China. The number of road accidents and traffic violations are also quite significant when compared to many other developing countries.

Indian roads witness 17 deaths on road every hour where many reasons cater to it like infrastructure and discipline. On average the number of traffic violations a persons made accountable for is high in western countries when compared to India. For example we never heard a traffic police imposing a fine because of changing lane in a restricted area. The USA and Australia have penalty points and fine structure for changing lanes in restricted zones having appropriate solid and broken line markings,” he says. The duo want to submit their proposals to road transport authorities later this month.

Roads have broken lines dividing the road into lanes. When the lines are broken then the commuters may change between lanes but when the line is solid they should restrict to their specific lanes i.e., overtaking and lane hopping is cautioned or prohibited when the road has solid lines. In practice several roads, if strategically represented with these solid lines, then it would significantly decrease the lane changes bringing up the lane discipline, in turn, reducing accidents and improving traffic movement.

These solid lines will address the accidents happening due to overtaking and lane hopping. Not just by marking in solid lines but also government should take measures in displaying clear boards restricting the lane change. This concept is still not known to most of the public and there is a special need for government to educate the general public on lane discipline and type of lanes, they said.

“I recently filed an RTI case which reveals the fact that very few national highways display the solid lines (restricting or cautioning the lane change) including the use of boards educating or displaying lane discipline. Not just that, as an example we can consider the city roads in Bengaluru; the stretch of old airport road marked with the solid line but due to lack of awareness in public regarding the relevance of these solid lines there is no proper compliance. Not just the road deaths related to overtaking and lane changes but also the over speed accounted deaths to the extent of 73,986 can be addressed by making proper markings on lanes and by bringing proper awareness on lane discipline,” he elaborates.
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Other suggestions:
Adopt Intelligent Traffic Management System and focus on interventions to bring behavioural change in public. Interventions may include mandatory strategical markings on roads and use of proper nudges to encourage commuters in following these markings. Smileys and thank you messages should be marked near zebra crossing for encouraging pedestrians for crossing road at the designated zebra markings. Promote lane discipline.

Red raised pavement markers or red blinking LED’s should be established at solid lines so that the commuters will be alerted to change the lane. Solid lines should not be used in a stretch where there are crossings and junctions as the commuters need to definitely need to change the lane using solid lines at these stretch of roads with crossings might lose the relevance and effect the compliance by the commuters. Mark critical road sections with solid lines and indicating the lane restriction signs might bring relevant intervention in the traffic behaviour. The practical utilization of concepts like solid lines are necessary.
Article Source : http://www.newindianexpress.com/citi...a-1809378.html
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Old 3rd May 2018, 11:50   #2
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

Rightly pointed, if we ask around within our network, majority of drivers wont know the lane expectations based on line type. This was taught to me in the driving school but how many people in India learn with an instructor. I myself learned the bike with my friends. Had to join the driving school because we didnt have a car.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 19:42   #3
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

Can't agree more.

The media loves to point fingers at over-speeding, but the single biggest culprit is lack of lane manners. Even the extremely variable speed of different forms of traffic won't be a problem, if there was at least a semblance of lane manners. Even in GCC nations, the traffic behavior is bad, but it keeps on flowing thanks to the lane manners being followed ( more-so because of wide roads and high speeds that make impromptu lane changing a bigger risk )

About the solid lane markings, when I moved back to India in the early 2000s, the NH47 (now NH66) in Thiruvananthapuram used to have solid lane markings in corners and narrow section.
Broken white markings- Normal
Unbroken white markings- Change lanes only if absolutely necessary.
Unbroken yellow markings- DO NOT CROSS.

The police used to be very strict regarding the matter and used to fine offenders, especially during the morning rush hour. This was before cameras came into use.

Now, the cops just park by the side and let the radar/camera do the work for over-speeding.
No enforcement of lane discipline, Heck. Nowadays I can't even see Unbroken lane markings anywhere too.
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Old 3rd May 2018, 19:56   #4
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Just replicate the highway code of UK as-is in India along with the strict imposition of fines for breaking any rules. Most of the suggestions given in the article are already adopted and are proven.
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Old 7th May 2018, 11:11   #5
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

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Originally Posted by aamateen46 View Post
with the strict imposition of fines for breaking any rules.
You speak my language, man! The only way to ensure road discipline is strict enforcement.

When did drunk driving come down big time in Mumbai? When the drunks were put behind bars - related thread.

The CCTV e-challan system in Mumbai actually had cars stopping *before* the white lines at traffic lights! I have never before seen so many cars on the road respecting that - related thread.

End of the day, it's a win-win for all. Steep fines will act as a deterrent, safer roads for all of us, while the exchequer will gain from the idiots who still break the law.
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Old 7th May 2018, 11:47   #6
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

Before we can enforce lane discipline related fines, our infrastructure and law enforcement needs to become consistent. Even within a city, you do not have homogeneous or consistent lanes/lines etc. Consider Delhi. There are streets here with lane markings which can only accommodate a 3-wheeler. It is easy to disregard the markings on such a road. And once you start ignoring them, it doesn't really matter if you are on a local road or an expressway. In the same city, drive towards the Lutyen's Zone and high chance you will be fined for crossing the solid yellow line - so everyone drives at a good distance from it, keeping wheels in both lanes separated by the white dotted line. NO challan for that!

It is really a chicken and egg situation with most of our problems really. Steeper fines can work, but imagine being fined for incorrect lane usage on such a street.

PS: I think the thread title should be changed to either "(Lack of) Lane discipline" or "Lane (in)discipline". Otherwise it conveys a completely different meaning.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:18   #7
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

Not just accidents but lane discipline also reduces traffic jams. Watch this creatively made animation that explains it:

https://twitter.com/WorldAndScience/...77642730082304
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Old 8th May 2018, 08:33   #8
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

As I call Bangalore my home, this city was almost perfect in every way, except for traffic. Things have gotten only worse as time went by.. traffic discipline is in complete tatters today. Some examples :

1) All bikes slowly creep up from the left, and inch towards the right at any speed, expecting you to slow down and let their highness pass.

2) Autos mostly ride the line (white, yellow or otherwise) at their top speed of 5 kmph.. without a care in the world as to who is honking behind them. A casual hand signal that one may overtake them (without them making any accommodation whatsoever) is made as they feel that they are entitled to ride the line at speeds that would make a turtle seem like a cheetah. However they are exponents of executing rapid horizontal movement in a blink of an eye should something fancy their dullard minds.

3) Water tankers and TATA 407s - "Get outta the way" mentality, and they WILL cause serious damage should you decide to stick to your lane and drive.

4) Jay-walking - whether its done by blue collar people who are too "busy" to look at the traffic and cross, or its done by teens who are too "casual" and "chill" to observe rules, everyone does it. Plays havoc with maintaining lanes.

5) Forget lane discipline.. thousands of 2 wheelers and autos even go against the one-way rule each and every day.. while motorists following the right way of the one-way are forced to change lanes to accommodate their unabashed mockery of road rules. Swalpa adjesht maadi.

6) Errant parking, double parking, triple parking.. visit Koramangala, Indiranagar, Double Road and Malleshwaram and almost every shopping or commercial district to see the horrors of parking.. who bears the brunt of such actions? The people who drive and are forced to change lanes.

Driving is a symbiotic organism, every motorist needs to adhere to the rules of the road, every rider must have empathy towards their fellow car motorists not to mention fear for their own life with the way they ride, autodrivers and Uber drivers are a mode of transport for people and they aren't entitled to overspeed when they lock in to a passenger or to go at minus 100 kmph (bending laws of physics) when they do not have a passenger.

Any research or studies of the obvious at this point, is near useless. There are signboards indicating 1-way lane while people merrily violate it if a cop isn't standing nearby, bikes like to jiggle and dance at every opportunity, specially when they are given the opportunity of a serpentine maze in a standstill traffic as they gleefully scrape every car using the knee protection bars and handle-bars without a care in the world.

Surprisingly, its the large Mercedes's, Audi's and BMW's who seem to follow maximum rules and lane discipline when in thick traffic, situation might contrast over free-roads, though.

Lack of lane discipline, drunk-driving, jay-walking, over-speeding and tempting fate using any combination of the above.. that's what results in accidents. Don't need no education to figure that out and until the are rules enforced very tightly, might as well stop trying to figure out these things and suffer in silence. My car has suffered two bumps while standing still in traffic (slight paint wear), if there is no lane discipline by our restless PTSD motorists when in red light, what to expect when it turns green?
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Old 8th May 2018, 08:40   #9
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

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Originally Posted by aamateen46 View Post
Just replicate the highway code of UK as-is in India along with the strict imposition of fines for breaking any rules. Most of the suggestions given in the article are already adopted and are proven.
Exactly. We have the benefit of hindsight which means we already know what works and what does not. We do not have a universal road code which means any road can be made in any way shape or form with no regulations, regulating the quality, the lane markings or the height of the kerbs. Imagine how many problems a universal highway code will solve but then again, look where we are at now. Do you think it is possible now unless we raze everything to ground and start again? I think we are at a point of no return unless something catastrophic happens.
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Old 8th May 2018, 08:45   #10
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Default re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

Fines for traffic offenses need to be heftier, enforcement by traffic police must be very strict and we need a culture change to follow lane discipline - is this asking for too much ?
Whatever happened to the new Motor Vehicle Act that seemed like a good first step in that direction ?

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PS: I think the thread title should be changed to either "(Lack of) Lane discipline" or "Lane (in)discipline". Otherwise it conveys a completely different meaning.
Spot on, agree with you!
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Old 28th May 2018, 14:38   #11
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Default Re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

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Fines for traffic offenses need to be heftier, enforcement by traffic police must be very strict and we need a culture change to follow lane discipline - is this asking for too much ?
Fully agree. As rightly pointed out, cultural change is the only cure to bring in traffic discipline, in our country. But, how & when are the questions before us and it's really a mammoth task. Still, we need to ignite this, somewhere. I undergo this challenge in my organisation, having a huge fleet.

Fines are still payable by the defaulters. I would suggest the vehicle be seized and disallowed for a period, licence be debarred for a period, depending upon the degree of offence. It will bring some seriousness in the business. Bit harsh, but that's what we need now to curb accidents.

Recently, my senior colleague's Xcent was hit from the side by an i20, while waiting at Saidapet signal. The driver of i20, a college going girl, called her dad over mobile and he was ready to compensate the damages, in excess of insurance claim and requested to let the girl, go home .

It's all settled. But, we can't say that it won't happen again, by her, with same vehicle ! Long way to go !

Last edited by tstlnt : 28th May 2018 at 14:42. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old 28th May 2018, 16:09   #12
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Red face Re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

The biggest contributor to the lane indiscipline in India is Impatience. Everybody who is driving on the roads thinks he has the first right to move ahead. This is a behavioral issue and cannot be resolved by lane markings alone. A 3 lane road suddenly can accommodate 6 cars parallely (esp at Tolls). As some rightly said the inadequate infrastructure is another contributor to this issue. This lane indiscipline leads to drivers totally forgetting that they have turn indicators in their vehicle which they should use.

I was a victim to an accident due to lane indiscipline at the start of the year when a cab taxi banged into my car just because he changed lanes abruptly. Had he waited patiently the mishap could have been avoided totally.
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Old 28th May 2018, 17:09   #13
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Default Re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

I've always imagined,( considering the number of violations), if hefty penalty was imposed on lane discipline violations, it would be a good revenue before people start following the lanes. So much fuel is wasted at traffic jams which are mostly due to drivers not following the lane and jumping the signals.

Sometimes, it really gets on my nerves at junctions/ signals when drivers who want to turn right stay in the left lane and cause chaos. Many a times, the free lefts get blocked by such inconsiderate people. I really think traffic police should encourage road users to report violations from dash cams and a portion of the fine be given to the person who reports it and thereby road users can keep a check on each other.
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Old 28th May 2018, 17:59   #14
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Default Re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
Driving is a symbiotic organism, every motorist needs to adhere to the rules of the road, every rider must have empathy towards their fellow car motorists not to mention fear for their own life with the way they ride

Yes, infrastructure, keeping to lanes, following rules etc. are important but the most important factor is right here - empathy. Almost all drivers in our roads lack empathy of fellow people who share the road. Take the high beam menace, it doesn't need painted lanes and good roads to dim your lights for opposite traffic, all it requires is acknowledging other people on the road. Even people who recognize and follow this give up after a while due to frustration and lack of mutual reciprocity.
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Old 28th May 2018, 18:33   #15
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Default Re: (Lack of) Lane discipline as a cause of road accidents in India

It's also a uniquely Indian problem that extends beyond our roads. Our society has a massive problem with rules and civic sense e.g. littering, failing to understand the concept of a queue, always being a me-first type... the list goes on.



Our roads are just one more place where we display this mentality for all to see.
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