Govt to set up national safety board for road management

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New Delhi, Nov 25 (UNI) To save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, the government is now planning to set up a national safety board to formulate standards and designs for roads and motor vehicles.

''We plan to set up a safety board on the analogy of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the United States and an accident analysis centre through National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP) at Rai Bareilly,'' said Ministry of Shipping Road Transport and Highways (MoSRTH) Joint Secretary S K Dash.

With the government earmarking Rs 1,131 crore under the Eleventh Five Year Plan for roads, he said currently no accident analysis is being done in the country and the crash test lab will be an important centre for information in this regard.

Both these initiatives are expected to provide leadership to the motor vehicle and highway safety community through the development of innovative approaches to reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries.

According to the Shipping Ministry, road transport and highways, at least 1,29,994 cases of road accidents were reported from the national highways in 2005, while the figure was 1,30,265 in 2004.

In 2003, a total of 127,834 such cases were registered.

According to the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), road crashes kill 1.2 million people a year and injure or permanently disable as many as 50 million more, making them the leading cause of death amongst people aged between 10 and 24 years.

India's road death toll had quadrupled in recent decades, Mr Dash said. Traffic accidents were likely to rise from the tenth highest cause of death worldwide to the eighth by 2020.

Ninety per cent of deaths have been because road safety efforts have not kept pace with the growth of new drivers getting behind the wheel.

The Joint Secretary said an elaborate plan has been drawn up for the countries highways. Under the scheme, the government plans to convert most of the highways, including the Golden Quadrilateral, access controlled. Along with this various electronic surveillance equipment like CCTVs and GPS will be set-up along the highway network to keep a tab on vehicles.

These systems will be able to pre-empt traffic snarls, help emergency services to locate accidents and keep a check on hazardous materials on the highways, said Mr Dash.

He informed that National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has already floated global tenders for such services and few companies have already been short listed by the authority.

UNI

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