Ministry calls for audit of national highways

PUNE: Over one lakh people lose their lives in road accidents in the country every year. The added loss of property and trauma to the family of the deceased has become a matter of concern.


The ministry of road transport and highways has released data on road accidents in the last two years ahead of its road safety week to be observed next month on the theme Road Safety - Time for Action.


As part of the initiative, the ministry has asked highway engineers to conduct road safety audits of all national highways in the country. Road safety week will comprise various activities organised with the involvement of traffic police, district authorities, social organisations and NGOs to spread awareness about safety measures.




The issue is especially of importance to Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, given that road accidents claim around 400 lives every year in the two cities. Two-wheeler riders make up for half of these deaths, followed by pedestrians. In the last decade (2005 to 2014), as many as 4,060 people were killed in road accidents in the two cities. Equally distressing is the fact that as many as 5,091 people were seriously injured in road accidents during this period.



Even in the last couple of years, the figure has remained consistently high.



According to the Pune traffic police, there were 398 fatalities in accidents in 2014, one fewer than the previous years total of 399. The number of people who were seriously injured in 2014 was 618 as compared to 619 the previous year. Overall, the total number of fatalities, and serious and minor injury cases showed a dip in 2014 as compared to 2013, down from 1,902 to 1,759. Road safety experts say over 75% accidents occur due to human error and overspeeding.



The road transport ministry, in a memorandum addressed to the secretaries of public works departments and chief engineers of national highways, has said that the high rate of accidents on national highways can be curbed by carrying out road safety audits.



There are safety concerns on certain stretches of national highways because of unavailability of land, traffic and other resources. Lack of road safety education as well enforcement contributes to the high rate of accidents. Carrying out road safety audits scrupulously and taking up remedial actions is essential to bring about improvement (in safety) on national highways. The highway network is to be examined kilometre by kilometre,the ministry has said.

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