For being one of the highly populated countries in the world, we also are one of the most dangerous countries when it comes to road safety. Unfortunately, our roads and highways witness a death every 3.5 minutes, a majority of which, about 72%, belong to the prime age group. A study conducted by ASSOCHAM states that there is still a lack of precautionary steps in terms of road safety, which shall be dealt with by the Government of India. The Government plans to adopt an IT-enabled intelligent transport system, which Mr Abhay Damle, IRS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highway, GoI, announced at a road safety event conducted by ASSOCHAM.
The study, conducted in association with JP Research India (JPRI) Pvt Limited, revealed that road junctions are most prone to accidents. In the year 2017, a total of 1,75,853 (37.8%) accidents were at a road junction. A total of 4,64,910 road accidents recorded in the country, 1,41,466 (30.4%) were recorded on the National Highways (NH) including Expressways, 1,16,158 (25.0%) on State Highways (SH) and 2,07,286 (44.6%) on other roads. In case of fatality, accidents on the NH accounted for 53,181 (36.0%) deaths, SH 39,812(26.9%) and other roads 54,920 (37.1%). Another hazard on the road is an overloaded vehicle, a total of 55,512 (11.9%) road accidents during 2017 involved overloaded vehicles.
Supporting the data in the report, Mr Abhay Damle, said that the number of deaths occurring due to speeding is at the highest levels. Mr Damle commented, “In India, speeding is a big menace and it is widespread across all the vehicles. We are introducing a unique feature that would be implemented in all the cars by July 2019. We are taking this initiative to curb the speed of the vehicles, especially transport vehicles. Although it is a difficult strategy to implement across the country, however, we feel this is the best way to control the risks. Apart from that, we are bringing in measures such as all the cars to have mandatory airbags.”
Mr AnilSrivastava, IAS, Principal Adviser and DG DMEO, Niti Aayog, GoI, said, “Niti Aayog is working on an ITeS policy to introduce an intelligent transport system and soon it will be announced. Many initiatives towards transportation are taken where the idea is to have seamless, connected, shared, digitalised and zero-emission free mobility. In the last three years, conscious efforts in streamlining road safety have brought down the rate of road accidents and related issues by more than five per cent. India being the fastest growing automobile market with a spurt in passenger traffic, we need big ideas to tackle issues like road safety. The country needs a massive data collection drive to maintain a registry of people to regulate driving practices and we are working towards it.”