'One person dies every 4 minutes in road accidents in India'

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New Delhi, Oct 10: One person dies every four minutes in road accidents in India, according to figures released by an NGO working on safer roads.

Estimating the cost of such accidents at Rs 3.8 lakh crore or 3 per cent of the GDP, the NGO, 'Indians for Road Safety' further said that the figure may increase to one death in three minutes by 2020.

Road accidents claim 1 life every 4 mins

The alarming figures were disclosed by the NGO at a seminar 'Tackling the Challenges of Unsafe Vehicles on Indian Roads' held in the national capital today.

"Safer vehicles is one of the pillars in planning and implementing road safety. We have come across some international labels that have compromised on safety standards. There is an urgent need to curb such a lackadaisical approach towards passenger safety," Kiran K Kapila, Chairman, International Road Federation (India Chapter) said.

"In a country that has the second largest road network in the world, it is a pity that one million Indians lost their lives to road accidents in the last decade," he said.

The panelists discussed a wide range of issues ailing the road safety standard in the country. According to the data provided by SaveLife Foundation, Uttar Pradesh amounted for maximum number of road accident deaths last year. Tamil Nadu stood second with 15,176 deaths.

Delhi recorded 1,671 deaths. In 2013, over 4,43,000 road accidents were reported in India with 1,47,423 deaths as a result. It was also revealed that half of all the deaths on the country's roads are among vulnerable road users-motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists.

Justice GB Patnaik, former Chief Justice of India, noted that the need of the hour is to "ponder and act over the existing rules, along with bringing all the stakeholders" rather than "shouting for more rules".

MN Krishnamani, former president of Supreme Court Bar Association, rued over the "sordid state of affairs" in the country on the incongruity of road safety laws.

"While wearing a helmet is compulsory in few states, many states are completely ambiguous about this practice. Safety is never the USP of any car brand, it's always the price," he said.

On the recent proposals of a 'green tax' by the green tribunal and the apex court on 'polluting' trucks in the city, Krishnamani said, "It's really a pittance. These trucks that earn crores of rupees, can very well pay a thousand bucks."

The senior advocate also pointed out that out of the 60 offences categorised under the Motor Vehicles Act, 44 of the offences amount to a fine of just Rs 100.

PTI

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