Government Prepares Blueprint for Lowering Road Deaths


Lowering Road Accidents

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As per sources, the Indian Government is readying an ambitious action plan to lower road deaths to almost half over a period of five years. In a letter dispatched to the finance ministry, Nitin Gadkari, the road transport and highways minister, has stated how road deaths cause economic losses of 2-3% of the GDP.

The government is currently drafting an ambitious national action plan for reducing road accident deaths within a period of five years and new safety norms for two wheelers will also be introduced soon as part of this initiative. The government is also working with the World Bank, World Health Organization and International Road Federation (IRF) to improve engineering designs of Indian roads with a view towards boosting greater safety along with measures like trauma care. The country currently has the highest deaths resulting from road accidents across the world. As per estimates, one individual is killed in a road accident every four minutes in India. The year 2014 witnessed the death of more than 1.37 lakh individuals due to road accidents while more than 3 lakh people were also crippled due to the same.

According to ministry sources, road designs are being worked upon for lowering accidents while two wheeler safety norms are also being introduced as two wheelers comprise 72% of all automobiles on Indian roads and more than half of all fatalities due to road mishaps. As part of the new norms, all two wheelers are required to possess automatic headlamps which are similar to daytime running lamps for four wheelers. There is also a proposal to integrate an automatic sound device or horn that can alert people in and around an accident site. This action plan will be announced at the global roads safety conference of the United Nations in Rio.

According to ministry officials, A1 and A2 license holders are allowed to ride bikes with specific power outputs in the West while anyone with a driving license can ride superbikes in the country. This also needs to be scrutinized and regulated as well. A proposed crash fund for helping victims with emergency medical care is in the offing along with penalties on companies and engineers held responsible for poor road designs. All public and private hospitals will compulsorily refrain from detaining bystanders bringing in injured citizens or demand payment unless they are family members. Violations in this regard are bound to attract disciplinary action.

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