The Indian government has been taking measures to reduce fatalities related to road accidents. Last month, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 which proposes to amend 68 sections of the existing Motor Vehicle Act. Now, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has said that the government is aiming to reduce the number of fatal road accidents in the country. As per official statistics, 1.5 lakh people lose their lives annually on our roads while 3 lakh suffer disabilities.
'The Ministry of Road transport stands committed to achieve 50 per cent reduction of road deaths in the country by 2020 as a signatory to the UN decade of action for road safety. To achieve this goal, the government is all set to adopt newer smart mobility technologies, whether in the form of traffic and transport efficiency, customized mobility , environment friendly mobility and road safety,' stated Gadkari in a written message to the 18th International Road Federation (IRF) World Roads Meeting (WRM).
That's quite an ambitious plan and we were curious to find out how the government planned to do this. The government spokesperson commented that multiple measures are being taken to make this happen including the construction of smart roads and smart highways. The government is currently conducting a national road audit to identify black spots which are notorious for causing accidents. Already 726 black spots have been identified and these are being rectified.
The spokesperson agreed that poor road infrastructure is one of the main causes of road accidents. The government is also working towards improving road architecture by ensuring they are well-illuminated with clearly marker lanes. Another issue is the poor quality of driver training and it is easy for anyone to get a driving license. The official stated that once the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 comes into effect, the license rules will change and getting a driving license will be comparatively difficult. Also, with the application and verification process becoming digital, it will be more difficult to get a bogus license.
'Pursuant to the invitation extended by Ministry of Road Transport to the Transport Ministers of various countries at the Mid-Term Review Conference held in November 2015 at Brazil, the Government of India also proposes to hold global transport Ministerial Conclave on Eradicating Road Deaths by 2030 on November 13, 2017 in New Delhi, a day prior to WRM 2017,' he further stated.
The IRF is a Geneva based global road safety body working towards better roads along with Union Ministry of Road transport and Highways (MoRTH). It is organizing the 2017 WRM is scheduled to be held in New Delhi from November 14 to 17, 2017. The theme of the event is 'Safe roads and smart mobility: The engines of economic growth'.
Nitin Gadkari is also at the helm of MoRTH which has proposed many changes to improve road safety ranging from the introduction of BS-VI emission norms to scrapping old vehicles.