• Safety on NHs and State Highways raising concern

    Eight deaths in two accidents barely few hours apart on Friday, that too just two days after the ghastly accident that claimed two lives including that of Nishith Narayana, and the question is back again. How safe are our roads and highways?

    That the highways, both National and State, passing through the State, along with the Outer Ring Road (ORR), have turned virtual death traps over the last few years is not a new fact. As many as 2,377 people have lost their lives in 3,137 road accidents from 2013 to 2015 on 12 NH/SH stretches and the Outer Ring Road (ORR).

    And in 2016, as per figures from the National Accident Data, 225 accidents were recorded on every 100 km of national highways, while there were 126 deaths recorded on every 100 km of State highways.

    And with Friday’s accidents, the toll has climbed higher. “There is a need to re-do the road safety awareness programmes and safety campaigns,” feels Additional Director-General of Police (Road Safety), T Krishna Prasad.

    A massive awareness campaign was taken out in January, which Prasad says had yielded major results. The accident growth rate in the first quarter of the year had gone up by six per cent across the country, while in Telangana, it had dipped by one per cent. This was in comparison with the figures of the first quarter of 2016.

    The number of deaths in accidents, again when the two first quarters of 2016 and 2017 were compared, had grown by seven per cent across the country, while in Telangana, it fell by four per cent.

    However, public memory is short, and the campaign has to be taken up again, he says, adding that educational institutions, IT firms, and all other stakeholders would be involved in another massive campaign to be taken up in the first week of July.

    At the same time, efforts are on to straighten out a few bottlenecks on highways, like clearing defects which make certain stretches black spots on highways, apart from mapping hospitals nearest to such black spots using Geographic Information System (GIS). Villagers will also be sensitised to help accident victims, Prasad said.

    Study pins the blame on poor reporting, infra

    Hyderabad: Poor implementation of laws, lack of coherent data collection and glitches in infrastructure are some of the reasons behind India’s increasing road mishaps, a study by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) says.

    Titled ‘Advancing Road Safety in India: Implementation is the Key’, the study was conducted in collaboration with global safety science consultant UL as part of the fourth United Nations Global Road Safety Week (May 8-14).

    The study, which puts out bare facts on road accidents and deaths, points at inefficiency in the implementation of laws due to divided responsibility between Central and State governments. It also says the country lacks comprehensive data collection and analysis of police and hospital records. Poorly maintained roads and trauma centres is another reason the study lists out, among other factors.

    According to the study, pedestrians (30%-40 %), two-wheeler riders/pillions (30%-40 %) and cyclists (10%) account for nearly 80% of casualties and injuries. These figures are in complete contrast with government records due to flawed reporting practices. Some studies suggest that the number of deaths is likely to be 20% higher than what is declared, while serious injuries are underreported by more than 50%.

    The study goes on to quote Ministry of Road Transport and Highways data — only 22.1% of accidents and 11.3% of road deaths of the total 50 million plus cases were reported in 2015. “A large number of crashes and deaths occur on rural roads (most of these include national and State highways) where road safety is yet to gain prominence,” it states.
    The study will be used as reference to address the road safety crisis afflicting the country, a statement read. DeAndre Jordan Jersey

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