BHUBANESWAR: Wary of a rise in road accidents, Odisha government has decided to investigate all road mishaps with three or more fatalities in a scientific manner to ascertain the exact reasons so that measures can be initiated to check the fatalities. Odisha now records more than 10,000 road accidents every year accounting for around 48 per cent (pc) fatalities, the highest in the country. Road accidents claimed as many as 25,257 lives in the State in the last five years.
As the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety, which is constantly monitoring the issue, has directed the State to reduce it to 10 pc, the Transport department is in the process of formulating a new framework for forensic investigation of all major road mishaps.
It has been decided to form a three-member road mishap investigation team comprising members from the police, an engineer from the road owning agency and a technical official from the Transport department.
The investigating police officer not below the rank of assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police will initiate the investigation within 24 hours of the mishap, and intimate the lead agency on Road Safety and Office of Transport Commissioner. The investigating engineer will conduct the probe covering human, vehicular, infrastructure and environmental factors leading to the crash.
A Transport department official said in case the officials concerned failed to take action in time, disciplinary proceedings against the defaulted officers will be initiated for non-compliance of Supreme Court’s directive.
“The investigating police officer will discuss with the designated engineer of road owning authority and technical officer with respect to their inputs within five days of the mishap. The three-member team will submit a final report within 10 days without fail by highlighting all human, infrastructure and vehicular factors involved,” he said.
A coordination committee headed by district Collector will also be formed to ensure that there is coordination between the road mishap investigation team members and to resolve any disputes.The team consisting of SP or DCP, Executive Engineer (Roads) nominated by Collector, RTO, a designated officer from NHAI and Health and Family Welfare department not below the rank of ADMO will ensure the implementation of health-related recommendations in the crash investigation report.
A total of 53,982 accidents occurred during 2017-2021 in which 25,257 people died and 52,769 were injured in the State. The maximum 5,333 persons died in 2019, followed by 5,315 in 2018, 5081 in 2021, 4,790 in 2017 and 4,738 in 2020.