CHENNAI: Concerned by a rising number of road accident fatalities, a Government-appointed panel suggested putting up protective meshes on overbridges and flyovers to prevent out-of-control vehicles from plunging down. Last year, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways appointed an expert panel to examine best practices in road construction as followed in other countries. After completing its study, the panel submitted its report to the ministry earlier this month.
Although the report singled out rash driving as one of the main reasons for accidents, the panel listed out steps to prevent road deaths. According to government statistics, 1,46,133 people were killed in road accidents across the country last year.
Citing a past study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), its programme coordinator Advait Jani stated that investigating officials generally attributed a vehicle accident to driver error.
“But the aspect of road designing and engineering is a critical aspect which official tend to gloss over. Although traffic monitoring measures such as drone use are seemingly good, they are not enough to address the core issue: engineering fault.”
The report called for protective meshes on overpasses or flyovers, as they are called in India, to prevent vehicles from crashing down on high speed roads below. To prevent instant deaths due to impact against hard objects, the provision of crash barriers was suggested on high speed roads. Agreeing with the suggestion, IIT Madras professor Gitakrishnan Ramadurai, a transport engineering specialist, said crash barriers provided on highways in countries like the US have been effective.
“A crash barrier absorbs significant amount of a vehicle’s energy and lessens its momentum. It prevents a vehicle from flipping over off the road. Our highways must be designed in such way that they are forgiving roads and not killer roads,” Ramadurai asserted.