He spreads awareness of the 'do’s and don'ts' of not only driving or riding, but also on how to behave when using the road

This 68-year-old man is knocking traffic sense into Hyderabads drivers
news Road Safety Friday, November 25, 2016 - 13:24

Hyderabad is known for its notorious traffic sense, whether it is the winding lanes of Old City or the packed roads in the IT sector.

Though commuters today would blame the poor condition of the roads, things weren't much better when there was lesser traffic and better infrastructure.

As one Quora user put it almost four years ago: "There's a remarkable disregard for authority, an almost negligible understanding of rules, and a blatant ‘whatever’ attitude that makes it very irksome to drive in Hyderabad."

However, for the past three years, a lone crusader is trying to knock some “traffic sense” into commuters in the city. 

Ahsan Pasha, the man behind a Facebook page titled “Traffic Sense in Hyderabad” is capturing rash drivers in the city on camera, and uploading them onto social media, to highlight the dangers of disregarding the rules.

Originally from Hyderabad, Ahsan left for England after finishing high school, to pursue his further education in the United Kingdom (UK), and returned to Hyderabad after his retirement.  

"I was in Hyderabad in 2012 and tried to get help from locals to spread some awareness on road safety issues, but I was told that I was wasting my time. 'This is Hyderabad, not England' was the standard response," says the 68-year-old.

However, worried by the “lack of sense” among road users, Ahsan started his Facebook page after returning to the UK in 2013.

"To my surprise, this took off and I started getting a following from the people working in the field of road safety. So, I came back to devote my time and give something back to my country," he says.

According to Ahsan, "The main goal of the movement is to spread awareness of the 'do’s and don'ts' of not only driving or riding, but also on how to behave when using the road."

"Everything that moves on our roads is traffic, and this includes hawkers and pedestrians too," he says.

One the first things Ahsan did, was attach cameras to his car.

"To discuss the issues I had in mind, I needed actual traffic situations. First, I used my dashboard camera, but that was not enough to get a 360-degree view of traffic around the car," he says.

At the cost of roughly Rs 80,000, Ahsan now has multiple cameras fit on his car, with a split screen monitoring system inside.

"Most of the videos on my Facebook page are from my car's camera system," he says.

According to Ahsan, there a few problems that the city faces where driving is concerned.

"There is no formal training for bike riders. Even kids can 'ride' a bike, but we need people to 'handle' the vehicle. This is the reason we have so many fatal bike accidents. There also many unfit vehicles on our roads.  Corrupt licensing practices only make things worse. Each corrupt license is a license to kill," he says.

When asked about the recent cases of drunken driving in Hyderabad, he says, "This has always been a problem. Most developed countries have been able to control this menace due to effective enforcement practices, but in India and specifically in Hyderabad, the police are heavily understaffed to be able to do this effectively."

Ahsan is satisfied with the response to the movement. 

"The videos have helped a great deal in spreading awareness, but to see any noticeable change, it will take time. However, I have noticed that my own driving habits are having a desired effect. For example, whenever I stop for pedestrians to cross the road, I have noticed other drivers stopping as well," he says.

In the short term, Ahsan plans to campaign with the RTA and the police, for the effective enforcement of tail lights and tail end visibility, as he says that a large percentage of accidents on the highways could be avoided with this, saving thousands of lives.

In the future, Ahsam wants to see a "revamped driver and vehicle licensing system," with the introduction of road safety education in schools.

"This will ensure road-worthy and safe vehicles plying on our roads, and properly trained and licensed drivers behind the vehicle." he adds.

 

 

Ahsan is satisfied with the response to the movement. 

"The videos have helped a great deal in spreading awareness, but to see any noticeable change, it will take time. However, I have noticed that my own driving habits are having a desired effect. For example, whenever I stop for pedestrians to cross the road, I have noticed other drivers stopping as well," he says.

In the short term, Ahsan plans to campaign with the RTA and the police, for the effective enforcement of tail lights and tail end visibility, as he says that a large percentage of accidents on the highways could be avoided with this, saving thousands of lives.

In the future, Ahsam wants to see a "revamped driver and vehicle licensing system," with the introduction of road safety education in schools.

"This will ensure road-worthy and safe vehicles plying on our roads, and properly trained and licensed drivers behind the vehicle." he adds.

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