Reducing road fatalities by 50% is possible by 2025 as against the target of 2030

Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways, and MSME said road fatalities can be reduced by 50 per cent by 2025 as against the target of 2030 while addressing a webinar organised by Consumer VOICE along with the other partners of the Road Safety Network.  In a bid to reduce road accidents the measures that have been outlined by Gadkari included the 4Es- Engineering, Education, Empowerment, and Emergency Care. He asked all educational and research institutions, civil society organisations like Consumer VOICE and state governments to actively participate in generating awareness on road safety and implementing the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act (MVAA).

“My suggestion to all state governments and stakeholders is to create awareness with the help of strong, effective campaigns. I’m ready to do whatever is needed to save lives,” the minister said.

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He also stressed on the identification of black spots to help reduce road accidents. The government has already appointed a committee in districts under the supervision of a chairman to identify black spots. Most of these black spots are on the National Highways which account for more than 53, 000 accidents every year. This he admits is a national challenge for all stakeholders. The central government, therefore, plans to appoint a private consultant under public-private partnership (PPP) model for an intelligent traffic system, Gadkari added.

“This is the time we should go for PPP (public-private partnership) model in transportation. We will appoint a private consultant, a good reputed company to study how we can make the PPP model in transport system particularly in Intelligent Transport System (ITS) at the state level, municipal corporation level and the National Highways level,” the minister added while addressing the gathering in the webinar.

The webinar also witnessed international participation from Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), New York and Dr. Judy Fleiter, Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), Geneva. While Dr. Kelly Henning congratulated the Indian government on the successful completion of one year of MVAA, Dr. Judy Fleiter appreciated the work down at the ground level by Road Safety Network.

Former MP (Lok Sabha) Shri Jay Panda also appreciated the efforts of the NGOs and the government as he acknowledges the fact that the Act came in after 3 decades of hard campaigning. Road accidents result in a loss of 3% of the GDP and in this pandemic when India is showing a downward hill in the GDP, this is the last thing the country can afford. ‘By cutting down on road accidents, we will add to the GDP as it means there will be less stress on the already overburdened healthcare system due to the pandemic, he added. He also urged the NGOs to be more proactive as steps taken outside the parliament is equally important to the steps taken inside the parliament. Shri Yunus Khan, Chairman, GOM on Road Safety & Transport, and former Transport Minister, Rajasthan said that the accident rate of two-wheelers is quite high in India and therefore there the importance of road safety needs to be highlighted in educational institutes.