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Road accident fatalities rise sharply in Odisha: Two-wheeler riders account for 40% of accident victims

Enforcement agencies need to focus on overspeeding, non-wearing of helmets, and non-wearing of seat belts- the major causes of road accident fatalities.

SNS | Bhubaneswar |

The coastal State of Odisha has recorded a sharp rise in road-accident-fatality with the number of casualties registering an upswing by 21% during the course of the past five years despite the apex court direction for reduction by 50%.

The rise in fatalities has become a major cause of worry for State government agencies given the fact that the Supreme Court-constituted Committee on Road Safety had directed the State government to reduce road accident fatalities by 50% by 2020 in a period of five years. The apex court had asked the state government to bring down the road accident graph by at least 10% on a yearly basis.

Notwithstanding the apex court directive, there has been a steady increase in the number of fatalities from 3,931 in 2014 to 4,738) in 2019- a sharp increase of about 21% in the last five years.

Unfortunately, this trend of increase in fatalities still continues during 2021. There has been an abnormal increase in fatalities by about 27.60% during the period January to April 2021 compared to the same period of 2020, said Madhu Sudan Padhi, Principal Secretary, Commerce, and Transport Department.

The Malkangiri district on the southern tip of the State has recorded the highest jump in road accident fatality in the past year at an alarming 115.38%. The districts of Jagatsinghpur (90%), Jajpur (85%), Nuapada (81.25%), Mayurbhanj (51.16%), Bargarh (48.72%), and Bolangir (48.65%) have also witnessed a major rise in road accident fatalities during the period.

Except in Four districts (Deogarh, Ganjam, Puri, and Sonepur), there has been an increase in fatalities in the remaining 26 districts of the State. Finding out the cause of occurrence of accidents is of utmost importance to plan remedial measures, said the official.

The helmet-less driving by two-wheeler riders and pillion riders contributes to the rising road accident fatality graph in the State. As per the official study on road accident fatality, 40% of those being killed in road accidents are two-wheeler riders.

Besides helmet-less riding, over-speeding and negligent driving, drunken driving, use of mobile phones while driving, unregulated vehicular traffic, violation of road safety norms, and unauthorised roadside parking have all contributed to the rise in the number of road accident deaths.

Enforcement agencies need to focus on overspeeding, non-wearing of helmets, and non-wearing of seat belts- the major causes of road accident fatalities. Although 68% of the fatalities that have occurred in the state are due to overspeeding, the enforcement against overspeeding is not satisfactory. For detection of over-speeding, interceptor vehicles and dedicated staff have been provided to the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs).

Though the road safety committee had called for the optimum use of the highway Interceptor vehicles, breath analysers to book drunk driving, portable weighbridges for detection of traffic rule violators, its implementation is left to be desired.

The Highway Patrol has been introduced in 19 mini stretches with dedicated patrol vehicles and staff. The highway patrol teams are required to conduct enforcement and shift accident victims to the nearest hospitals. But the performance of the highway patrol teams is not at all satisfactory, commented transport department officials.