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Road Accidents

Quote : ‘You and I come by rail or road, but economists travel by infrastructure.’ – MargaretThatcher

Data : As per a study, one person die every third minute of road accidents in India.

Goals :SDG 3.6aims to halve the number of deaths due to road accidents by 2020.

Brasilia declaration adopted at 2015 Conference on Road safety agreed to find theways to achieve above SDG. (India is a signatory to it)

PM called for SAHI (Safe, Affordable, Holistic Infrastructure) at Global Mobility Summit.

Committees :S Sunder committeerecommended creation of ‘National Road Safety & TrafficManagement Board’ through an Act of Parliament.

Road safety panel headed by KS Radhakrishnan, in its report submitted to Supreme Court gave many recommendations including ban on sale of alcohol on highways.

Reason for the high rate of road accidents :

  1. Ineffective law enforcement – The traffic rules like speed limits, lane driving, stopping at red lights, consideration of zebra crossing, etc. are least followed. Further, the fines and punishment is marred by heavy corruption.
  • Poor infrastructure – The conditions of roads itself is not encouraging. The corruption in tender allocation and apathy towards the state of roads results in poor quality of roads including large number of potholes and frequent sinking of roads. The lack of proper footpaths and cycle paths not only causes accidents and deaths, but also discourages the healthy and sustainable mode of mobility. Poor lighting of roads results into accidents but also leaves a room for crime (eg. Nirbhaya case or robberies)
  • Lack of database : The absence of holistic database makes it difficult in monitoring the health of roads and sharing the best practices across the country.
  • Road rage and drink and drive incidents, harassment of good samaritans and long driving hours specially in case of transporters
  • Improper scrutiny in granting driving licence – The licences are issued to the people who do not have even the minimum driving skills and to the adolescents who are under age as per the legal limits.
  • 6. Poor traffic management – Non commensurate infrastructure in respect to rising number of vehicles, shortage of traffic police men(women) and delays of diversion in case of accidents further adds to the cause.

Steps taken to curb the menace :

  1. Executive level – Separation of traffic and general police. The dedicated team of traffic police focused on managing traffic and enforcing traffic laws have improved the state of affairs.
  • Legislative level – Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, 2017 (passed by Lok Sabha, pending at Rajya Sabha) include various provisions including heavier penalties, protection to good samaritans and holding builders liable for poor quality of infrastructure.
  • Judiciary level – Supreme court ruling for ban on sale of liquor on national and state highways is aimed to reduce the drink and drive induced accidents.
  • The platforms like ‘Sukhad Yatra’ will enable citizens to report on road quality including potholes leading to better management of road infrastructure.
  • India Road Assessment Programme (India RAP) – Conducted in association with International Road Assessment Programme, it will rate highways’ safety level and thus seeks to eliminate most unsafe roads.
  • Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) – It aims at lighting the streets across the nation with LEDS. Implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), it will reduce road accidents, makes roads safer and also reduce energy consumption, thus contributing to manage climate change.
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