NEW DELHI: To reduce the number of deaths from road accidents, the Supreme Court on Thursday issued a set of guidelines enumerating the steps the Centre should take for the safety of citizens, including the framing of a road safety policy.
Around 1.25 million people die each year globally as a result of road accidents, according to the World Health Organisation’s Global Road Safety Report, 2015. In India, around 1.5 lakh people die in around five lakh accidents every year.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued the guidelines to the Centre and all states and Union Territories to frame a road safety policy, and asked them to set up agencies to work as secretariats of state road safety councils to coordinate on activities related to driving licences, registration of vehicles, road safety and features of vehicles.
The order follows a PIL by Coimbatore-based Dr S Rajaseekharan, president of Indian Orthopaedic Association and head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore.
The court expressed shock at the fact that most of the states and Union Territories have already framed a road safety policy, though Delhi, Assam, Nagaland, Lakshadweep, Tripura, Delhi, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Andaman have not, and directed them to have the policy in place by January 31, 2018.
Earlier, the apex court had set up a committee on road safety under former Supreme Court judge K S Radhakrishnan. The same committee will fix the responsibility and functions of the councils.
These councils will periodically review the laws and take appropriate remedial steps wherever necessary. Similarly, lead agencies and district road safety committees should be established by January 31, 2018.