Road studs, rejected worldwide, still twinkle on Pakistan’s roads

Driving along a dark road, you might have seen occasional flashes of light emitting from some devices that have been installed on the road. These devices are called road studs or Raised Pavement Markers. These objects include a lens or sheeting that enhances their visibility by reflecting the light from headlights of vehicles and making the road visible to the drivers. They are bonded or anchored within the road surface for lane marking and delineation for night-time visibility. 

Road studs, commonly known as ‘cat’s eyes’ (due to their design) first introduced by a British businessman Percy Shaw in 1933, served for decades but gradually invited a debate “Are they a problem or solution” and finally the civilized world concluded to get rid of them for the safety of public lives and property.

Capital Development Authority (CDA) Director Roads and Maintenance Abdul Fateh said the authority was considering removing heavy metals after a high official accident that made us reply in Parliament’s committees and departmental meetings to review the policy of installation of these obsolete road studs. He however regretted that due to indifference towards abiding by the traffic rules and adventurous driving the authority was forced to use such gadgets ,” he added.

The director said some different sizes of road studs were being used ranging from 4 to 8 inches, meant to specified purpose and areas. Larger cat’s eyes were installed near schools, mosques and hospitals as the CDA received complaints regarding hit and run cases. “The rash drivers receive jerks when they drive through these cat’s eyes and are compelled to lessen the speed of their vehicles,” Fateh added.

Unfortunately due to these reasons, the Pakistani departments concerned still consider cat’s eyes essential to mark lanes and slow down the vehicles speed while using them as speed breakers, whereas for this purpose, proper education was required, besides making people strictly adhere to the relevant rules. #SayNoToCat’sEyes was the title of the social media campaign against the use of road studs on the roads of Pakistan. The public has demanded to ban the use of these dangerous cat’s eyes for their safety and adopt some other technique to meet the purpose. The campaign gained attention and support due to the safety issues that come up with the use of road studs. Poor installation of road studs can make them loose, which may cause accidents. They are fixed on the road with the help of nails. There are several cases where the cat’s eyes are damaged or broken, but the nail is still sticking out in its vertical position above the road. When the driver crosses them at speed, it may cause serious damage to the tyre and may even result in blowing up. Such a scenario may result in a fatal accident by losing control over the vehicle.

The Solution?

Although the road studs serve an important purpose according to the concerned authorities they should at least be replaced with round-cornered studs made up of rubber to minimize the damage to the vehicles. The size of these cat’s eyes must also be reduced to a safe limit. All of the current ones must be removed on a priority basis to avoid any further cases of accidents. Moreover, the citizens of Pakistan should also learn to obey the rules and regulations so that the authorities are not forced to take such steps that may cause harm to their lives. It’s about the safety of people traveling and the ones on the road, therefore, one must drive carefully. 

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