Geneva-based International Road Federation (IRF), a global road safety body working for better and safer roads worldwide, is set to conduct a road safety audit on the accident-prone section of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway.
The aim is to identify and remove deficiencies in the section and suggest measures to eliminate or mitigate them. It involves evaluating highway improvement schemes during design, at the end of construction and post-construction. This comes on the heels of the recent road mishap which led to the death of the former chairman of Tata Group, Cyrus Mistry.
“Concerned over rising road accidents in the country and the recent fatal road accident in which Mistry lost his life on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Highway, the IRF has decided to conduct a Road Safety Audit on the accident-prone stretch to evaluate and identify road deficiencies,” said KK Kapila, president emeritus, IRF.
According to IRF data, India accounts for at least 11 percent of global fatal road accidents, the highest in the world. IRF is currently working in seven states namely Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh along the worst road section, aiming to correct them.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), India accounted for 4.03 lakh road accidents in 2021, claiming the life of 1.55 lakh people. In Gujarat alone, 6,719 road accidents took place in which some 7,641 people died.
“This translates to a 0.53 percent increase in the death rate as compared to 2020 in India. India’s performance over the years has not shown significant improvement and the loss due to road traffic accidents is equivalent to 5-7 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the World Bank Report June 2022,” said Kapila.
“The 5E’s of safe road systems namely Engineering of Roads, Engineering of Vehicles and Policy Corrections, Education, Enforcement and Emergency care should be simultaneously carried out on all the roads,” said Satish Parakh, president, IRF-IC.
Apart from road engineering, IRF also expressed concern about vehicle safety. Earlier, Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that seat belt alarms will be made mandatory for rear seats of vehicles too. Mistry and his co-passenger—both of who were killed on the spot—were seated in the rear of the car and did not have their seat belts on.