Union Ministry to Fix Flaws in Indian Highways

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Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has initiated a move to fix the flaws in 25 most accident-prone “black spots” on highways across the country as part of a detailed plan to reduce India’s morbid record of losing a life on road every four minutes and having the most road fatalities in the world.

“These black spots, which are accident sites, where accidents occur again and again spread  across 13 major states, account for 90% of road accidents in the country, Among the 13 states that experience the maximum road fatalities are Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh ” Road Transport and Highways Secretary AK Upadhyay said while speaking at a two day seminar on “Road Safety in Urban and Rural Roads”organised by the India chapter of Geneva based International Road Federation (IRF).

“The highways ministry has asked the National Highway Authority of India ( NHAI) and state authorities to initiate work to fix structural flaws in roads in the five worst black spots by March and complete work on the 20 other black spots by December 2012 as part of a four-pronged strategy to reduce road fatalities.” Said Mr Upadhyay.

“The government has urged states to spend time and money on three other fronts – education of road users, new technologies for accident recording ,  stricter enforcement of traffic laws to crack down on violations, and emergency trauma care for road accident victims.Various  engineering solutions are  also being examined for vehicle design and certification, which could be made a standard requirement for vehicle makers.” he added.

“States like Tamil Nadu are maintaining an electronic road traffic accident database and we are encouraging others to do the same so that such ‘black spots’ can be identified on an ongoing basis,India loses more than Rs 1 lakh crore a year due to road accidents. In 2010, 1.34 lakh people died in road accidents.Till a few years ago, India was behind China in road fatalities. But now, with nearly 12 crore vehicles on the road, India is far ahead of China on this grim parameter. ” The Secretary said.

“The highways ministry allocates 10% of its budgetary outlays for road safety, which would now be deployed to improve accident-prone roads.Many states have also set up Road Safety Funds from the fines collected under the Motor Vehicles Act, giving them access to funds outside the budget with the flexibility to spend on safety measures such as traffic junctions, road signs, foot over-bridges,” Upadhyay said.

Mr V.L.Patnakar, Additional Director General, MoRTH speaking on the occasion said that in most of the accidents About 80 %)  happening in the country drivers are blamed and found at fault. But poor engineering and designing of roads is equally responsible for road accidents.  Most of the accident spots even in capital Delhi including schools, hospitals, rumble strips and speed breakers  and busy intersections do not have fore warnings signs. The subways constructed for pedestrians are too low. World wide ground level subways are constructed by elevating the roads.

“About 1000  eminent  road safety transportation experts from more than 30 countries took part in the event which concluded here today . In wake of recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report that India accounts for more than  10 per cent of the global road accident deaths of 1.3 million (13 lakh) world wide every year, renowned global experts attending the two day meet discussed  ways and means to reduce fatal road accidents especially on urban and rural roads .” Said Mr K.K.Kapila, Chairman, International Road Federation (IRF)

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