Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari has said that road safety is a matter of national concern, and only active cooperation of all stakeholders can reduce the number of road accidents and related fatalities in the country. Inaugurating a Workshop with Industries on Road Safety in New Delhi today, the Minister noted with concern that India has the world’s largest number of deaths due to road accidents. He called upon industry leaders and other stakeholders to take a pledge to help bring the number of fatalities down by 50 percent. Shri Gadkari said that in the last few years all stakeholders including the corporates, automobile manufacturers, NGOs and the governments have made collective efforts in this direction, resulting in a small reduction in the number of deaths due to road accidents, but a lot more needs to be done in this regard.
Outlining the initiatives and steps taken to improve vehicle safety and overall road safety, the Minister said his ministry has adopted the 4E principles of Education, Enforcement, Engineering and Emergency care to address the problem of road safety. For ensuring vehicular safety, the standards of buses have been upgraded, air bags and speed alert device have been made mandatory for all cars, and every two-wheeler will have ABS to avoid skidding. He said, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, waiting to be cleared by Rajya Sabha, comprehensively promotes safety on the road. It would also promote the development of an efficient, seamless and integrated multi-mode public transport system.
Laying a lot of stress on improved road engineering, Shri Gadkari said that his Ministry has identified 789 black spots on national highways across the country and these are being rectified on a priority basis. He called upon the corporates to come forward in identifying more such black spots in the country so that these too can be rectified. He also called upon them to come up with technology that can ensure better and safer roads for the users. In addition to this, the Minister solicited the cooperation of the corporate houses for getting health check-ups done for drivers.
Addressing the workshop, Union Health Minister Shri J P Nadda emphasized upon the triple principals of Law, Awareness and Enforcement. He insisted upon behavioral, cultural and environmental changes for avoiding accidents. The Minister outlined his ministry’s initiatives on first respondent training, organ donation, etc. He informed that in order to reduce mortality and morbidity occurring due to road traffic injuries, his ministry is implementing “National programme for Trauma Care” with a focus on improving pre-hospital, hospital & rehabilitative services for injury victims. He said, National Injury Surveillance (NIS), Trauma Registry and Capacity Building Centre have been established at Dr. RML Hospital. NIS has been connected to eight Government Hospitals of Delhi for collection of injury related data. Under NHM, support is also being provided for more than 8,800 Dial-108 ambulances which is predominantly an Emergency Response System (ERS), primarily designed to attend to patients of critical care, trauma & accident victims etc.
The workshop is being conducted as part of MoRTH’s Road Safety Week. It is being attended by senior representatives from leading industry and business bodies including ASSOCHAM, FICCI, CII, SIAM, Uber, Ola, etc. FICCI has committed to undertake road safety awareness campaigns in schools. It has instituted road safety awards, entries for which will soon be invited. A walkathon will be organized between Delhi and Chandigarh. 8000 members of CII committed for enforcing helmet discipline in their premises. They also offered to conduct medical check-ups for commercial drivers and improve road safety. ASSOCHAM representative pointed out the need to improve road infrastructure in hilly areas, and assured their commitment to work with the government. SIAM is creating a strong database of accidents for providing road safety through better analysis of the causes. It has also promised to triple its driver training output. Uber India has committed to provide medical and eye care to 4.5 lakh driver partners in the next six months, while Ola has promised to provide similar facilities to one million drivers in three years.
The Ministry organizes the Road Safety Week every year to create awareness among public and improve upon the safety of road users. This year, Road Safety Week is being organized from 23rd to 29thof April and the focus is on schools and commercial drivers.