From 'moonwalk' to dressing up as 'Yamraj', traffic cops get creative to spread road safety awareness

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From doing the ‘moonwalk’ while managing traffic to dressing up as ‘Yamraj’ for sensitising commuters against drinking and driving, traffic cops from across the country are using creative methods to teach road safety lessons and spread awareness. Ranjeet Singh, a traffic cop from Indore, is a fan of pop icon Michael Jackson and has been performing the singer’s signature dance move while managing traffic at busy intersections since the last 17 years.

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“Unfortunately,many people do not respect the traffic light. They have an impulse to jump it if there is no cop watching but once they see me performing, they stop and traffic is managed smoothly. The technique also helps whenever I’m deputed at places where we need to do crowd management,” he said, adding that he has received recognition not only from his department but also multiple awards for the initiative.

Sandeep Singh from Gurgaon traffic police dressed up as Yamraj, the Lord of Death in Hindu mythology, to send across a message against drinking and driving.

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“Such drives are to make people aware in a dramatic way. If I explain this to someone in that attire, at least 20 people take notice. I tried this before the COVID-19 pandemic and even during the pandemic we did this for people who were stepping out during lockdowns or at places where there was overcrowding,” he said.

India recorded over 3.5 lakh road accidents during 2020 in which 1,33,201 people died and 3,35,201 were injured, the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed. The government data showed that more than 60 per cent of road accidents were caused due to over-speeding, accounting for 75,333 deaths and 2,09,736 people being injured.

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“Every year, we read about how many challans were issued by traffic police but I have realised while being on roads that those who violate rules may not necessarily be wary of challans so we have to find out creative ways to convince people about the value of not only their lives but of their fellow commuters’,” Singh added.

For Delhi Police Head Constable Sunil Sen, teachings kids is an easy job as they spread the message in their families with more impact.

“In 2008, I decided to start creating awareness among children by getting them engaged in streets plays, songs, slogans, teaching them traffic mock drills. We also did an exercise where we made some children work as traffic personnel for a day and assisted them in regulating traffic.

“I have trained a total of 21,771 students and 1,096 parents. I have also trained around 8,00 cab aggregators. Children are the best medium through which we can reach out to everyone. Many-a-times when you try to make an adult understand, their ego surfaces but when their own children school them while driving, they feel it is right and follow the rules,” he said.

Seema Sharma, Inspector Incharge of Delhi Police’s Road Safety Cell, leads an initiative under which the team sends audio-visual exhibition vans to big bus terminals like Anand Vihar and Kasmhere Gate to spread awareness about road safety measures and norms like not using mobile phones while driving or crossing the road, overspeeding, and causes of accidents.

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