Son’s death in mishap turns her into crusader of road safety

Son’s death in mishap turns her into crusader of road safety
Highlights

If the United States and Canada have ‘MADD’ centres to ensure safe driving and road use; our own ‘Sudheekshan Foundation’ here is no less in creating awareness among youth with a missionary zeal to minimize, if not eliminate, deaths due to road accidents.

Vijayawada: If the United States and Canada have ‘MADD’ centres to ensure safe driving and road use; our own ‘Sudheekshan Foundation’ here is no less in creating awareness among youth with a missionary zeal to minimize, if not eliminate, deaths due to road accidents.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a non-profit organization that seeks to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and strive for stricter impaired driving policy.

The Irving, Texas–based organization was founded on September 5, 1980, in California by Candace Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunk driver. Today, there is at least one MADD office in every state of the United States and at least one in each province of Canada.

Not unlike Candace Lightner, Chigurupati Vimala, whose son died in a road accident, realised the dire need to do something concrete to prevent fatal mishaps that could agonizingly tear a woman from her children.

Hardly 10 days after the death of her only son, she launched a foundation with a mission to create awareness among youth on traffic rules. The idea is to at least minimize, if not entirely prevent, deaths due to accidents. The foundation has voluntarily funded many persons, including accident victims, in getting artificial limbs.

The insensitivity of most people who ignore an accident victim begging for help hurts her most. For, her son Sudheekshan was going on a bike to reach his engineering college around 8.30 am. A truck hit him and he was seriously injured. Nobody came to his rescue.

He was seen urging everybody going that way to take him to a hospital. At last, a police team noticed him and he was rushed to a hospital. He succumbed to injuries six days after admission.

At that point of time, a police complaint was necessary for admitting an accident victim to a hospital. Now, there are no such restrictions, thanks to the directives of the courts.

Now, Vimala’s daughter, who is in the US, is also waging a battle against lack of awareness among youth by holding meetings in colleges and selecting the needy who can, with help, walk with either Jaipur leg or prosthetic limbs. So far, she has provided assistance to 500 people who have got their artificial legs and about 100 others who secured artificial hands.

Talking to ‘The Hans India’, she said that people in the age group of 16-40 years were prone to bike accidents that might cause death. Her Sudheekshan Foundation has membership in the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, located in Zurich, Switzerland.

“The foundation is also a member of the Indian Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, Delhi. Every year, 1.45 lakh deaths are reported in India. While 8,000 die on roads in Andhra Pradesh, about 350 deaths occur in the city of Vijayawada,” she said.

Recently, she conducted a camp in the city and provided Jaipur limbs to the needy at a cost of Rs 2 lakh and prosthetic limbs to six children at a cost of Rs 5 lakh.

She has contacts with more than 100 NRIs who help her in carrying out her mission. She has extended activities to neighbouring West Godavari, Guntur and Prakasam districts. She is now planning another camp in February.

By Noor Shaik

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