VIJAYAWADA: Losing people to road accidents not only victimises their families, but also the nation. Road mishaps chew off two per cent of the country’s GDP, causing severe damage to the economy, Regional Transport Officer M Purendra explained to lorry drivers on the 6th day of the 28th national road safety week here in Vijayawada on Tuesday.
The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) department began road safety week celebrations on January 24 and awareness programmes are expected to continue till Jan 30.
APSRTC has 127 depots, 11,912 buses that ply on 3,886 routes in the State. According to the data available with APSRTC, around 377 people died and 1,203 were injured in 855 road accidents caused by RTC buses in Andhra Pradesh in 2016 from April to December. The department had to cough up a total of `18.89 crore as ex gratia to victims’ families.
RTC on Tuesday felicitated 51 of its drivers across state for their accident-free service spanning long careers. G Dastagiri of Proddutur depot was adjudged the best driver and awarded a cash prize as well.
Speaking to Express, Dastagiri said being alert and feeling responsible for the lives of his passengers was what had led to his scot-free records. “I don’t drink or smoke. To ensure that my bus didn’t suffer any technical glitches, I would turn up for work an hour early,” he said.
According to RTC vice chairman and managing director M Malakondaiah, Andhra Pradesh RTC is recording least road accidents when compared to other states and is aiming at a zero-accident goal.
Transport Minister Siddha Raghava Rao initiated the road safety week and presented awards to the bus drivers for accident-free service. Principal secretary Sumita Dawra and Transport Commissioner N Bala Subramanyam participated in the programme. The fifty-one drivers attended the event with their families.