28 Dec 2013

Road Accident Deaths to Be Reduced by 50% in Coming Years with ‘Vision Zero’ Goal- Shri Oscar Fernandes Necessary Action Soon to Expedite Settlement of Motor Accident Claims

Shri Oscar Fernandes, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways
Shri Oscar Fernandes, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has assured that the Ministry will set a target to bring down the road accident deaths by 50% in coming years and ‘Vision Zero’ will be the goal. 

He also stated that his Ministry will also take all necessary action to expedite the settlement of motor accident claims. 

The Minister was chairing the deliberations of a conference on “Strengthening Road Safety Legislation: Saving Lives”. 

Expressing concern over the number of persons killed in road accidents in India being the highest in the world in spite of decreasing trend, the Minister said it is unacceptable.

 He said the Government will play its primary role in creating safe road traffic conditions through safe infrastructure, legislation, enforcement, education and prompt post crash response and care. In India, Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), 1988 is the national law to govern movement of motorized transport on our roads and regulating various issues bearing on road safety. 

However, the laws need to be reviewed and amended from time to time to keep pace with the changing requirements of the time and also to assimilate the good practices that are identified based on sound evidence of effectiveness, he added. 

Accordingly, the Government initiated the process of amendment of the MV Act and the present amendment to the MVA is a step towards mitigating the hardship of the most vulnerable road users by improving the comprehensiveness of laws relating to specific risk factors: over-speeding, drunken driving, overloading, use of mobile phones, not using helmets and seatbelts. 

The Minister further stated that the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on 08th May, 2012 it is now before Lok Sabha for further consideration and passing. He said appropriate legislation plays a very important role in making our roads safer. The Minister stated that a pilot project has recently been launched on Gurgaon-Jaipur section of NH 8, for providing cashless treatment to road accident victims for 48 hours at expenditure up to a limit of Rs. 30,000/-. 

The Minister emphasized that all drivers should be educated in the etiquettes of “Lukhnawi Tahjib”. Every person driving a vehicle should follow the principle of “Pehle Aap”. This will prevent many avoidable accidents, save precious lives and make journeys less stressful. Over 1.38 lakh people were killed in around 4.9 lakh road accidents reported in the year 2012. 

Speaking earlier, Hon’ble Justice Midha appreciated the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2012 which aim at alleviating the hardship of road accident victims and their kin. However, he brought out that we need to bring in a system where the intervention of Courts is not required for settling the claims, except in cases of dispute. 

For this the Agreed Procedure Rules being followed in Delhi could be looked at for implementation throughout the country. He also suggested that in order to get over the problem of uninsured vehicles, we may create a ‘’Road Accident Fund” by levying cess on petrol and Diesel and this fund could be used for disbursement of compensation to accident victims. 

Congratulating the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for its efforts to strengthen road safety legislation, Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India, said, “We strongly believe that strengthening the road safety legislation will save lives. We, therefore, urge all stakeholders to come together and facilitate the passing of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2012.” 

The World Health Organization Country Office for India and World Bank organized a conference on strengthening the road safety legislation in collaboration with Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, on 14 December 2013. The deliberations were chaired by Shri Oscar Fernandes, Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India. 

The speakers included Hon’ble Justice J. R. Midha, High Court of Delhi; Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India, Shri Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and leading experts from the World Bank and WHO. The conference was attended by senior officials from the Central and State Governments, representatives of NGOs and the media fraternity. 

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