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The Supreme Court, on Thursday, 30th November 2017 issued guidelines to reduce the number of deaths that occur as a result of road accidents and directed States and Union Territories to implement Road Safety Policy dated 2010 with seriousness

The Bench comprising Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta were hearing a PIL filed by Dr. S. Rajaseekaran, who is the Chairman and Head of Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore. The Petitioner had contended that 90% of deaths in road accidents are due to lack of proper implementation of Road Safety Rules.

An analysis of the Report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways published on September 2017 titled “Road Accidents in India-2016” shows that a total number of 4,80,652 road accidents took place in the country in the year 2016 of which 1,50,785 accidents claimed life and 4,94,624 accidents left persons with grievous injuries.

The Supreme Court noted the statistics given by the Petitioners , which reads as, “the number of deaths due to road accidents in the country was said tobe over 100,000 in a year, which translates to about one death every three minutes.”It further noted that the compensation awarded for deaths and other motor accident claims runs into hundreds of crores of rupees. During the course of arguments in the instant case, the Court had perused all documents, data and reports on road safety and accidents and deaths, which have occurred over the years.

The Apex Court after having considered all aspects in the case and after making detailed study of the suggestions and submissions issued 25 directions, which include directions to 4 Union Territories and 3 States to formulate “Road Safety Policy” by January 2018 and carry out its implementation in an effective manner. The Court has directed the Union Territories and States, which have not formed road safety policies to formulate the same by January 2018. It has also directed all States and Union Territories to prepare a “Road Safety Action Plan” by the end of March 2018. Further, the Court also mandates safety norms as part of school curriculum.

The Court noted that, “It appears that one of the main reasons for road accidents is the poor quality of roads, improper design, etc,”

The Court has now made it mandatory for States and Union Territories to establish Road Safety Fund, the corpus of which would come from traffic fines collected. The money would be used to meet the expenses for road safety.

The Union Ministry of Transport has been asked to frame a protocol for road design, road quality and identification of black spots and also, to implement “traffic calming measures” at accident spots.

One can hope with the Supreme Court judgement road safety will now be given a priority and travelling will be less disastrous.

Taruna Verma

Senior Associate

 

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