“ROAD ACCIDENTS are as much a cause of death in the country as any other fatal disease,” said Praveen Gedam, state transport commissioner, during the inauguration of the road safety drive on Monday. Gedam was quoting from a data study conducted by Global Burden of Disease (GBD) on mortality and causes of death collaborators in the country, 2015. At least one person in any of the major cities in the state including Mumbai, Nashik and Pune die every month on account of road accidents, he said.
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“Road accidents and injuries claim lives of commuters among all age groups. Out of the various reasons identified for road accidents including fault of the driver, issues with the vehicles and improper road conditions, more than 70 per cent of the accidents are a result of faulty driving. Thus, observing discipline and following traffic rules while on road are a must,” he said.
Gedam also said that though there is a slight dip in the number of accidents in the country, the number of deaths has surely increased in the past 15 years. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), while road accidents have come down to 63,000 accidents in 2016 when compared to 70,000 in 2001, the number of deaths has increased to almost 13,212 from 9,788 deaths in the corresponding period.
Focus on proper fitness of the vehicles and overcoming infrastructure issues must remain the aim this year for the department, he said. Digitisation of the department and making a comprehensive vehicle record server would be worked upon, he added.
Started on Monday, state authorities including traffic police will observe a ‘road safety drive’ for two weeks wherein importance of following traffic rules will be propagated through rallies. Traffic police also outlined a mobile application inaugurated two months ago — Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP) — to detect and react to such violations.
“The biggest issue in a city like Mumbai is the road space management. Using the road in the most efficient manner should be worked upon. Active participation of youth in such projects should be seen,” said Sanjay Bharambhe, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic.
Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, who was present at the event, stressed on educating motorists on their errors while driving on the road. He said people should be conscious about following traffic rules. “I have noticed that deficiency of knowledge about traffic rules exists among traffic regulators which further increases the number of violations in the country. It is time the traffic system of our country is corrected so that others can look up to it. I will also be obliged to help Mumbai traffic police campaign for any of their initiatives,” Bachchan said.
The drive will look at stricter law enforcement and seminars on road safety. Mumbai reports almost 500 road accident deaths in a year.