The Supreme Court on Thursday came out with a set of guidelines to tackle rising accidents, including addition of a chapter on road safety in school curriculum and audits of two most accident-prone stretches of highways/expressways in each state as a pilot programme.
“…We are confident that the directions… will save thousands of lives from road accidents and crores of rupees in compensation payable by the insurance companies — provided the directions are faithfully and sincerely complied with,” the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
The order came on a PIL by Dr Rajaseekaran, chairman and head of orthopaedic surgery at a Coimbatore-based private hospital, in 2012.
Acting on the PIL, the court constituted a committee on road safety on April 22, 2014, under the chairmanship of retired apex court judge Justice K S Radhakrishnan and appointed advocate Gaurav Agarwal as amicus curiae to assist the court.
The committee came up with 12 reports.
The suggestions included framing of a road safety policy, constitution of state road safety councils, establishment of a lead agency to act as the secretariat of the road safety council and coordinate all activities such as licensing issues, acquisition of road safety equipment such as cameras and speed governors. The reports also sought strengthening of norms for crash testing of light vehicles.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways told the court it had already acted on most of the guidelines.
On the proposal for road safety audits, the ministry said though it agreed with the suggestion, there was a deficiency of qualified auditors in road safety engineering. “Efforts are being made by the government to build capacity, by way of organising workshops on road safety engineering, road safety audit certification courses etc. It would take some time to build capacity in the field of road safety audit,” it said and requested the court to permit states to set their own targets for completing the road safety audits.