Road safety draft bill aims to save 200,000 lives

New Delhi


With an abysmal road safety record in India that says one human life is lost in accidents every three minutes, the Narendra Modi government has proposed a new draft model bill that targets to save 200,000 lives in five years.

The draft also proposes some radical changes in the existing norms governing road safety, such as unified driver licensing system across India, a national independent watchdog answerable to parliament and a fast-track approval system for vehicles so that spare parts can become cheaper.

"In a nutshell, the new bill, for which we want inputs from all stakeholders, seeks to achieve three major milestones," a transport ministry official told IANS.

These milestones, he said, were to save 200,000 lives in five years, add some four percent to the country's gross domestic product due to efficient and safe road transport sector and creation of one million jobs with more investments.

The new draft aims to make provisions for enforcement of modern safety technologies and creation of a motor accident fund for immediate relief to accident victims.

It proposes to introduce cashless treatment for victims of all accidents during the crucial golden hour in addition to a motor accident fund providing mandatory insurance to all road users.

Special emphasis will be laid on safety of school children and security of women.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), under the home ministry, 461 people died and 1,301 were injured "every day" in traffic accidents in India in 2012.

This makes it 19 deaths every hour or more than one every three minutes.

To put this disquieting data in perspective, almost half the equivalent population of some countries like Iceland or the Maldives is wiped out on Indian roads every year.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India accounts for the highest number of deaths in road accidents. China with 97,551, the US with 41,292 and Russia with 37,349 have much lower deaths on their roads but with much more cars.

The draft envisages making spare parts of vehicles cheaper while at the same time improving their design for safer travel.

The draft further proposes to set up a transparent, single window licensing system along with a unified vehicle registration system that will bring the manufacturer, owner, transport authority, insurer and the enforcement agency under its ambit as well. - IANS