Kerala motor vehicles department's campaign to reduce accident deaths bears fruit

Kerala reported 12.6 per cent fewer deaths in January-May this year than the same period in 2019 ever since the initiative was rolled out at the start of 2022.

Published: 04th July 2022 03:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2022 03:36 AM   |  A+A-

Accident

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The motor vehicles department's (MVD) latest move asking officers to give priority to reducing road accident-related fatalities in a month, instead of just meeting financial targets, has borne fruit.

Kerala reported 12.6 per cent fewer deaths in January-May this year than the same period in 2019 ever since the initiative was rolled out at the start of 2022. This is being considered a significant achievement as road accidents claim over 4,000 lives in the state every year.

In 2019, 4,440 deaths were reported of which 2,127 took place in the first five months. Besides monthly targets, the new system makes the RTO (Enforcement) responsible for handling all serious accident cases in a district.

The officer files a report within 24 hours of an accident, followed by an analysis in the next 48 hours, detailing the reasons that caused the accident and corrective steps. The reports are sent to the District Road Safety Council to take action in coordination with other departments.

New system keeping motor vehicle dept officers on toes

"Accident reduction target is among the several measures taken by MVD to improve road safety. Involving officers to study fatal accidents has helped in reducing the deaths," said Transport Commissioner S Sreejith.

The transport department has also started linking the confidential reports of officers involved in accident reduction. However, MVD still has a long way to go as the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety (SCoRS) has set a target of 25 per cent reduction in fatal and serious accidents by the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, senior officers said the new initiative has prompted field officers to be on their toes. The MVD also sent enforcement officers to IIT Delhi earlier this year to get trained in road safety audit.

"The training has helped officers prepare comprehensive audit reports that suggest measures to prevent similar accidents. Being closely involved in accident-related cases has also proved to be a good orientation for officers," said Additional transport commissioner Pramoj Sanker PS.

He said the quality of accident analysis reports had impressed ScoRS chairman Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre during the June 27 review meeting. Justice Sapre is said to have conveyed the method to other states to follow.

The new arrangement had met with some resistance, with one section of officers wanting the regular RTO to file accident reports and the enforcement wing complaining of overload. However, top MVD officers said they stuck to the plan with the backing of Transport Minister Antony Raju who conducts period review of the accident fatality reduction plan.

Victims, kin of deceased benefit too

The new system is said to have helped victims of serious accidents and kin of those who died get speedy relief as the paperwork is faster. Earlier, MVD was often accused of being slow in processing accident files and also of tampering for financial gains.

Accident analysis involves remedial measures to prevent human and non-human errors

Human errors: Speeding, overtaking, rash driving, not wearing safety gadgets, drink driving, jumping
red light, driving on wrong side, using mobile phone while driving

Non-human errors: Poor condition of roads & potholes, accidents at construction sites; poor design
of junctions and approach roads to bridges and culverts; lack of streetlights and signboards; condition of vehicles



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