As part of the upcoming Road Safety Week, the state Home Ministry has instructed all road- construction companies and civic bodies across the state to identify accident-prone ‘blackspots’ on roads built by them and take immediately as well as long-term corrective measures.
The 31st Road Safety Week will be observed across Maharashtra between January 11 and 17. Identifying ‘blackspots’ is one of the most important tasks given to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), and civic bodies. As per norms set by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as well as the Indian Road Congress, a patch of 500 meters of the road, on which five or more accidents with fatalities and grievous injuries have taken place in three years, is to be identified as ‘blackspots’.
Milind Mohite, superintendent of police with the State Highway Patrol, said, “While immediate measures will include putting up warning boards, signals and speed breakers, long-term measures will include making permanent structural changes, building bridges or underpasses, finding engineering solutions like changing gradient…”
Independent researcher Tanmay Pendse, who lost his brother and Marathi actor Akshay Pendse, as well as his nephew, in an expressway accident in December 2012, and has since been doing extensive work on highway safety, said, “The efforts… are commendable… having said this, no one will disagree that road safety decision-making agencies lack the ability and expertise to anticipate accidents right after the construction of roads. Why do we have to wait for accidents to happen? There are many patches that may not fit the definition of a ‘black spot’, but need serious structural changes…Some places need very small solutions… but have to wait for years for that to happen.”
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