5 Apr 2012

Amendments to Motor Vehicle Act is a Step Towards Mitigating Hardship of Most Vulnerable Road Users : Says Dr. C.P.Joshi



National Workshop on Road Safety Held
The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Dr. C.P.Joshi has said that the amendments to the MVA is a step towards mitigating the hardship of the most vulnerable road users. Traffic in India is extremely heterogeneous consisting of pedestrians, bullock carts, bicycles, rickshaws, motorized two-wheelers, cars, buses, trucks etc. Delivering key note address at the National Workshop on Road Safety on the theme of “Improving the Safety of the most vulnerable road users”organised by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways here today, he said that due to lack of segregation, the same road space is shared by motorized as well as non-motorised traffic, thus creating unsafe conditions for the road users especially, the pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists who become vulnerable to accidents.

He said that present road systems are largely designed for the motor vehicles exposing vulnerable road users to greater risk of accidents. In developing countries, lack of fool-paths, service lanes, cycle tracks, traffic calming measures to reduce speed where non motorized mode of transport blend with motorized traffic, increases the risk of accidents and its severity. These factors have contributed towards increase in road related accidents, injuries and deaths in relation to rise in terms of road length. Developed countries have made progress in providing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists along with speed reduction schemes, however in our country transport and urban planning have given in sufficient consideration to the pedestrian/cyclists, motorcyclists and non-motorised road users and as a result, these users become vulnerable to accidents.

The Minister expressed his concern that the planning of road transport systems and urban development has not accommodated the needs of all road users. In some cases, roads have been developed with little consideration for the needs of the communities they pass through – such as where high-speed roads have been built passing close to schools or residential areas especially in rural areas . Therefore starting from the current financial year we need to initiate programmes for schools located on road sides that are accident prone in order to attempt behavioural changes through small modules on road safety.

He opined that State Governments need to reach out to the people to spread the message of road safety. Education and awareness will go a long way to bring about a change in the attitude and behaviour of our people. As a step in this direction, he appealed to all the State Governments to hold regional workshops to highlight those issues in their States regularly. State Governments should also take into consideration the needs of all road users particularly the needs of vulnerable road users while making policy decisions that impact on road safety.

Dr. Joshi called upon road users to make road safety a mass movement programme with objective to bring significant changes in the attitude of all road users where road safety gets its due importance and priority in every road user’s day-to-day life. He emphasised that transport and police departments educate their field staff, right up to the junior most level, about the proposed amendments to Motor-Vehicle Act, 1988 because ultimately they will have to enforce these provisions. He said that he was pained to know that during year 2010, there were around 5 lakh road accidents resulting in the death of over 1.34 lakh people. The motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized vehicles, constitute the most vulnerable road users, accounting for around 40% of all facilities. It is imperative that all stake holders brace up and strive to make roads safer for them.

The Secretary of the Ministry and the senior officers were present in the workshop. Planners, policy makers, enforcement officials, Helath & emergency service providers, engine3ers responsible for building and maintaining NH’s/SH/other roads, Social Science teachers in secondary schools, IT officials, NGOs/Transport association engaged in Road Safety also attended the workshop. 

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