The government is spending over Rs 20,000 crore to rectify accident-prone black spots on roads across India in order to reduce fatalities, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said Friday. Speaking in New Delhi at the launch of a study by Nissan India and SaveLife Foundation, Gadkari said the priority of his ministry is to save lives lost in road accidents, which account for over 1 lakh deaths each year in the country.
One of the reasons for road accidents is flawed engineering. We have identified the black spots we are spending more than Rs 20,000 crore for implementing this and making underpasses, flyovers, etc, the road and transport minister said.
He added the road safety issue requires more public awareness, besides a serious approach in factors like issuance of driving licences. We have suggested to state governments to include chapters on road safety in primary education. The government is also taking preventive measures in auto industry, like seat belt reminders corporate India and civil society must work together to make road safety a people s movement, Gadkari added.
Rear seat belt usage
According to the report Rear Seat-Belt Usage and Child Road Safety in India , 90% of the 6,306 respondents surveyed said they do not use rear safety belts, despite over 70% of them affirming to the presence of rear seat belts in their vehicles.
The report also revealed that despite 92.8% respondents being aware of the safety benefits of child helmets, only 20.1% owned a child helmet.
According to data released by the road and transport ministry, 9,408 children lost their lives to road crashes in 2017.
While there have been various initiatives undertaken to raise awareness around road safety in India, the importance of wearing rear seat belts has been completely neglected, Nissan India President Thomas Kuehl said.
He added that the company, along with SaveLife Foundation and SHARP NGO, has set a target to educate over 2 lakh children in 240 schools across 12 cities on usage of rear seat belts and road safety.
The study also builds a strong case for a comprehensive national road safety law the passage of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill to bridge the policy-implementation gap. The need for better policy awareness and implementation is evident in the study findings only 27.7% respondents were aware that rear seat belt usage is mandatory in India.
(With inputs from PTI)