‘States are not cooperating on road safety measures’

‘States are not cooperating on road safety measures’

By DIBYENDU MONDAL | NEW DELHI | 2 July, 2016
On an average, 56 accidents take place and 16 lives are lost every hour in India .
The alleged lack of cooperation by several state governments on the issue of road safety is one of the main reasons coming in the way of turning the Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014 into law, according to Dr Kamal Soi, member, National Road Safety Council (NRSC), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Dr Soi said speeding continues to kill lakhs of people every year on Indian roads.
“Over-speeding is one of the major reasons for the large number of accidents on Indian roads and road transport being a state subject, cooperation from the states is vital to regulate road safety standards. But, governments in several states don’t seem to be concerned about road safety,” Dr Soi said. 
He also blamed heavy commercial vehicles for being one of the major killers on roads. “Commercial vehicles account for 35-40% of fatal road accidents. This is because the drivers of these vehicles are neither well-trained nor qualified. Besides, the transporters encourage their drivers to indulge in rash driving which leads to accidents,” he added. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2014, Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number of road accidents with a whopping 69,095 accidents in 2014, followed by Maharashtra with 52,369 accidents and Delhi with 9,235 accidents. According to city-wise NCRB data, Delhi ranks second with 8,116 accidents in 2014 after Chennai with 9,465 accidents. An analysis of the 2014 NCRB data reveals that on an average, about 56 accidents take place and 16 lives are lost every hour and the total number of road accidents increased marginally by 1.5% in 2104 compared to 2013.
Dr Soi said that the effective implementation of the “speed governor” (a device that controls the maximum speed of the vehicle) rule would also help in curbing accidents on roads. 
He said, “Speed governors are a life saving device, and effective implementation of speed governor devices in all heavy commercial vehicles would bring down the accident rate in the country. Along with this, effective implementation of the Motor Vehicles’ Act is also necessary, because without effective implementation all efforts would fail.”
Asked about managing “over speeding” practices by private vehicles, Dr Soi told The Sunday Guardian, “This is also a major concern and can be tackled through effective implementation and enforcement of the Motor Vehicles’ Act. We have stringent laws, but the sad part is they are not enforced.” 
Dr Soi also pushed for intelligent transport management systems through the installation of GPS in all cars to track their speed by a central monitoring system so that all violating vehicles can be tracked and punished. 
He has suggested segregation of traffic on roads and better designing of roads and footpaths.
Anurag Kulshrestha, president, TRAX, an NGO working on road safety, said that highway policing, installation of CCTV cameras, enforcement and checking of over-speeding would provide much relief from the large number of road accident cases. 
“The government has to be committed about making Indian roads safer. It takes away many lives every year. Designing of roads also needs to be changed with effective and better management of traffic system and pedestrians should also come under the ambit of the Motor Vehicles’ Act as they are also using the roads.”

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