To reduce the number of deaths that occur as a result of road accidents, the Supreme Court on Thursday insisted that all states and Union Territories should frame a Road Safety Policy.
To reduce the number of deaths that occur as a result of road accidents, the Supreme Court on Thursday insisted that all states and Union Territories should frame a Road Safety Policy. It also asked for setting up of lead agencies to work as secretariats of State Road Safety Councils to co-ordinate all activities such as licensing issues relating to driving licences, registration of vehicles, road safety and features of vehicles, and other allied matters, including emission norms. “Road safety issues should be taken seriously both by the central government as well as by the state governments,” a Bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said, adding that “all states and UTs are expected to implement the Road Safety Policy with all due earnestness”. Noting that only a few states have established the Lead Agency as recommended by the Committee on Road Safety in December 2014, it directed those states and UTs which have not done so to establish the Lead Agency on or before January 31, 2018.
It made it mandatory for states and UTs to establish Road Safety Fund. “The corpus of the Road Safety Fund will be from the fines collected for traffic violations and the Fund will be utilised for meeting expenses relating to road safety,” it said. The court has also directed framing of Road Safety Action Plans by March 31 to reduce the number of road accidents, as well as the fatality rate. The Union ministry of transport has been directed to frame a protocol for road design, road quality and identification of black spots. The ministry should implement “traffic calming measures” at accident spots. “It appears that one of the main reasons for road accidents is the poor quality of roads, improper design, etc,” the court said.
Other measures include setting up of emergency medical care centres in every district, a universal accidental helpline number and permanent road safety cell, among others. The court noted that insurance companies had spent Rs 11,480 crore as road accident compensation in 2015-16. As on November 7, 2016, there was one death almost every three minutes due to road accidents. Only half the number of families of these victims were compensated. This was despite the apex court’s intervention and setting up of a committee on road safety under former Supreme Court judge KS Radhakrishnan. The court said it would review the situation in February 2018.