10 April 2017, Kotagiri: Radio Kotagiri is into their second month of live dial-in programmes. This month, two call-in programmes on Road Safety were broadcast. The programmes sought to understand the listeners’ take on local road safety, an issue which becomes crucial in the Nilgiris during tourist season. There is a sharp spike in road accidents during the months of April, May and June coinciding with a significant increase in vehicular traffic. It has been estimated that only about 50% of the cases are reported while the rest are not registered.
More than 10 callers in the age group of 35-50 years were in conversation with Aravindh during these programmes. The callers were mostly of the opinion that the increased volume of traffic during these months coupled with rash driving, especially by young bikers, led to these accidents. They also said that most of these accidents would be caused by driving under the influence of alcohol and many young bikers engage in high-risk driving without caring for the basics of safety like protective headgear.
Speaking with them Aravindh managed to gauge that while the younger bikers were aware of the dangers of rash driving, it was peer pressure that pulled them into it. The radio team is now looking to develop programmes where accident survivors and their friends and family can go on air and speak about the trauma they have been through. The team feels that firsthand accounts such as these would go a long way to ‘deglamorise’ speeding in the hills and make the Nilgiris a safer holiday destination for holidays for tourists and residents alike.