Road accident situation in country ‘much serious’ than pandemic, says Nitin Gadkari

Ntin Gadkari attack on PM

India accounts for the highest road accidents globally, with 1.5 lakh people being killed and over 3.5 lakh crippled annually.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that the road accident scenario in the country was ‘much serious than the Covid-19 pandemic’ and ‘an alarming situation’.

One of the steps taken to decrease this was to bring 40,000 km of highways under safety audit so as to find and correct design and other deficiencies, he said.

“Seventy per cent deaths are in the working age group of 18 to 45 years old. There are 415 deaths per day in road accidents in India. I would say this scenario is very much serious than Covid-19 pandemic and it is becoming an alarming situation for us year on year,” Gadkari said while addressing a webinar by the International Road Federation.

“Unfortunately we stand at position 1 in road accidents in the world, ahead of US and China. Being the transport minister, I am sensible and serious about the subject,” he said.

He said that 415 deaths take place daily due to accidents on Indian roads, the highest in the world, and losses amount to 3.14 per cent of the GDP.

India accounts for the highest road accidents globally, with 1.5 lakh people being killed and over 3.5 lakh crippled annually.

The minister took a dig at those who prepare ‘faulty’ detailed project reports (DPRs) and sought collaboration from the International Road Federation (IRF) and other bodies for vetting these in a fortnight.

“Many DPRs are in very bad shape with lots of technical deficiencies which create further black spots (accident spots). DPRs should be proof-checked and revised by competent authorities, third-party agencies, and educational institutions before implementation,” he said.

Wondering why other states were lagging on the road safety front when Tamil Nadu could reduce road accidents by 38 per cent and deaths by 54 per cent, the minister urged states to replicate the Tamil Nadu model. He also stressed the need for qualitative, comprehensive and uniform accident data collection and recording.

“In India, 78 per cent of road accident deaths are of two-wheeler riders, bicyclists and pedestrians. Protection and safety of these vulnerable road user group is the foremost priority of the Centre,” he said.

The minister also stressed the need for developing digital technologies, drones and app-based platforms and said over 60 per cent of the accidents occur at road junctions, which clearly indicates that there are deficiencies in their design and construction.

“Can we find alternate solution for junctions by redesigning them into roundabouts/rotaries, grade separators, flyovers or channelised diversions,” he said, and added the ministry is working on more than 5,000 black spots identified on the highway network.

Gadkari further said the chairman of the National Road Safety Council will be announced soon as this body will be responsible for collecting accident data and suggesting measures to further reduce road accidents.

Stressing that 70 per cent of accident deaths in India are due to over-speeding, the minister said fitness check of all vehicles has been mandated through Automated Vehicle Inspection and Certification (I&C) centres.

“The government has recently announced scrapping policy to deal with old, unfit vehicles and their safety concern. It is expected that more than 1 crore such vehicles would be removed,” he said.

Source: The Indian Express


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