NEW DELHI: Making mandatory air conditioned cabins for truck drivers, paramedics on mobikes and encouraging safer road infrastructure including application of intelligent transport system has been part of series of measures proposed by union transport ministry to bring down fatal road accidents by the half in the next five years.
Nearly 139,670 fatal road accidents were reported in India in 2014 and the government has constituted a national road safety policy which outlines various measures.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the centre has decided to make air-conditioning mandatory in the driver’s cabin of trucks.
“Making truck drivers cabins air-conditioned will be made mandatory as they drive up to 12 hours at a stretch at times. It is necessary because due to sweltering heat in their cabins the drivers lose their mental equilibrium, which at times leads to mishaps,” Gadkari informed Rajya Sabha.
The minister said that the focus is to bring down the number of deaths in road accidents by 50 percent and the ministry has identified 726 blackspots which would be set right at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore. Also on the anvil is to have paramedical staff on motorcycles so that medical help can reach fast to accident victims.
Admitting that around 30 percent driving licences in the country were bogus, Gadkari said: “This is a country where license can be procured most easily. This is discredit and not credit.” He recalled that when a health check up of drivers in Maharashtra was carried out, 40 percent of them were found to be suffering with cataract.
The ministry has also formulated a multi-pronged strategy to address the issue of road safety based on 4 ‘E’s viz. Education, Engineering (both of roads and vehicles), Enforcement and Emergency Care.
“Road safety has been made an integral part of road design at planning stage and road safety audit of selected stretches of National Highways has been taken up,” said Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri Pon Radhakrishnan.
The minister said that the threshold for four laning of national highway has been reduced from 15,000 Passenger Car Units (PCUs) to 10,000 PCUs. About 52,000 Km of stretches of state highways has been identified for conversion to national highways.
“Setting up of model driving training institutes in States and refresher training to drivers of Heavy Motor Vehicle in the unorganized sector. Tightening of safety standards for vehicles like seat belts, power-steering, anti-lock braking system are also proposed,” he said.