Road accidents in India: Three incidents claim 57 lives in 24 hours; is government doing enough on road safety?

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New Delhi | Updated: Apr 10, 2018 4:56 PM

Three accidents in the past 24 hours from across the country have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yesterday, thirty, including 27 school children, died when a school bus ferrying them back home plunged into a deep gorge near village Gurchal on the Nurpur-Chamba highway near Shimla.

shimla road accidentRoad accidents in India: The accidents have led to the loss of 57 innocent lives and an irreparable damage to the lives of their families. Shockingly, such losses are not new.

Three accidents in the past 24 hours from across the country have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yesterday, thirty, including 27 school children, died when a school bus ferrying them back home plunged into a deep gorge near village Gurchal on the Nurpur-Chamba highway near Shimla. In another incident, at least 18 labourers were killed and 15 others injured when a speeding truck overturned in western Maharashtra’s Satara district in the early hours of Tuesday. In the third incident, nine people were killed and four others injured on Tuesday when a vehicle rammed into a truck in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district.

The accidents have led to the loss of 57 innocent lives and an irreparable damage to the lives of their families. Shockingly, such losses are not new. As per Road Ministry figures coted by Bloomberg in January, over 150,000 people in India die in road accidents every year, translating into 400 deaths per day. Road ministry data show that 83 percent of road accident fatalities were in the age group of 18 to 60 years, or mostly the working age population.

The menace of road accidents and the subsequent loss of lives, however, is not new. The debate for a harsher law to contain in icidents of rash driving gained momentum when former Union minister Gopinath Munde died in a road accident soon after the BJP stormed to power at the Centre. Now, these three horrific incidents have once again raised the issue of road safety in the country.

While the central government has been stressing on the need to curb road accidents, deaths on this account remain unabated. The central government is even mulling to capitalise on the popularity of the Bollywood. In February, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had said his ministry has requested Bollywood star Akshay Kumar to be the brand ambassador for a road safety awareness campaign. “I have talked to Akshay Kumar and he said that he will fully cooperate with us. He said he will be our brand ambassador,” Gadkari said. Gadkari had noted that the biggest priority of his ministry was to reduce the number of road accident deaths.

According to reports, the central government vowed to reduce road accidents by 50 per cent by 2020. As part of the plan to reduce fatalities, the transport ministry has undertaken Rs 12,000 crore project to rectify black spots, reports said.

Another key step in this direction is the Motor Vehicle Bill. The bill wants to bring radical reforms in the transport sector. It envisages 100 per cent e-governance, checking vehicle thefts, bogus driving licences and slapping a heavy penalty on traffic violators. The bill also ensures that good samaritans are not harassed and holds vehicle-makers responsible for design defects to cut road accidents. The Bill is currently pending approval in Parliament.

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