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India reports highest incident of fatal road accidents

A Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana expressed concern at increasing fatal road accidents here, the highest in the world. The committee will be headed by Justice S Radhakrishnan, former transport secretary S Sundar and chief scientist in Central Road Research Institute Dr Nishi Mittal, and Justice Radhakrishnan after his retirement on May 15th, 2014.

“India accounts for 10 per cent of the total 1.3 million road accident fatalities worldwide despite having only one per cent of the world’s vehicle population. About 1.38 lakh people were killed in around 4.9 lakh road accidents in the year 2012. The estimates of the Planning Commission and the World Bank have put social cost of accidents between 2 to 3 per cent of the GDP every year. The Nation is losing more than Rs. 1 lakh crore a year because of road accidents, and this is besides the loss of human life and trauma.” Said Mr K.K.Kapila, Chairman, International Road Federation (IRF) welcoming the SC move.

“India is a signatory to the United Nation’s Decade of Action plan for Road Safety across the world which aims to reduce road fatalities by 50% by the year 2020. Indian government has since realized the gravity of this epidemic and has taken some meaningful initiatives in the recent past. The Honourable Supreme court move will help in reducing the fatal accidents in a big way. IRF will extend its full support to the panel” said Mr Kapila.

“Several measures towards improving road safety including much awaited amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA), improvements in roads from engineering perspective, road safety audits in all stages of road construction, beginning right from the planning stage, besides identification and remedy of black spots which account for almost 90% of road fatalities in India.” Mr Kapila said.

“The Government has set a five-year target for reversing the accident growth rate to negative. The measures to check fatal road accidents include improving road engineering, adding public transport with inbuilt safety features, providing separate cycle lanes to the extent possible, construction of lay byes on highways after every 50 kilometers with proper signages, providing for resting areas, eating joints, petrol pumps and other basic facilities, rest rooms and communication facilities , thus improving public transport system.” Added Mr Kapila.

“The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has agreed to introduce Road Safety in a subtle way through various subjects of their existing curriculum thus not further burdening the students with new subjects. This introduction has been done within the existing curriculum of subjects like English, Hindi, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies in Delhi besides other States following NCERT curriculum. This initiative is also being taken up with other States.” He said.

“IRF has also suggested Road safety audits on state road networks by the state government. Worldwide road safety audits are done to reduce road accidents, the audit includes improving the fault of road design which is major cause of road accidents. IRF can help in training road safety auditors as it has already trained more than 250 road auditors till date in the country.” Mr Kapila concluded.

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