STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi 11 July
Several experts at the National Media Workshop on Road Safety Legislation, organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), today, hoped that the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill would be passed in the Parliament’s upcoming monsoon session.
According to Professor G Gururaj, Head, Department of Epidemiology, NIMHANS, Bangalore, the proposed amendment should take care of all aspects including road engineering and pedestrian safety. "Road rages are more prominent in urban areas contrary to popular belief that backward regions of the country are less aware of traffic rules," said Professor Gururaj.
Since the proposed amendments in the law governing road safety are deficient, there is said to be a need of stringent legislation to prevent over one lakh road accident deaths annually as well as to check incidents of road rage.
Providing a data on road accidents, Mr Piyush Tewari, founder of NGO, Save Life Foundation said, 15 deaths occur on roads in India every hour.
"Road accidents also account for 35 per cent of all unnatural death in the country, according to NCRB 2012 and WHO 2013 figures,” said Mr Tewari.
He said the proposed bill does not cover “movement of pedestrians, bicycles and other non-motorised vehicles, road engineering standards, aspects of urban design and vehicle safety standard”.
As per the road transport and highways ministry data, India has the highest number of road accidents in the world, with more than one lakh people getting killed and another 4.5 lakh getting injured every year due to accidents.
According to former road transport and highways minister, Mr C P Joshi, once the amendments are passed, the number of accidents would be minimised as the proposed law has stringent provisions for violators of traffic rules.
As per new laws, traffic rule violators will have to cough up hefty penalties for offences such as over-speeding and drunken driving.
It also seeks to raise compensation for death resulting from a hit and run accident to Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 for the injured in such incidents.
The Bill has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha in May and needs to be cleared by the Lower House.