There is a serious lack of capacity on speed management among enforcement agencies in India: CUTS webinar on Speed Management

Voice of Jaipur, May 21, 2021

‘New Delhi: CUTS International has organised a webinar on “Ensuring Road Safety on the Streets through Speed Management in India” as part of observing, the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week is falling from May 17-23, 2021. UN Global Road Safety Week is celebrated every two years.

The theme of this year’s week is Streets for Life. The theme of the campaign of the week is based on the Stockholm Declaration of 2020 advocating for 30 km/h speed, where people and vehicles mix, said George Cheriyan Director, CUTS international in his opening address.

‘Our streets are public places, to walk, cycle, shop or to participate in social activities, used by children and common people. Many of us had played gully cricket or football on the streets. Political parties organise street corner meetings. Everyone has a right to feel safe on the streets. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Report, 2019, Road accidents kill almost 1.51 lakh people annually in India.

Over-speeding is a major cause of road accidents, accounts for 71% crashes,  67.3% deaths and 72.4% injuries.  National Highways accounts for 73.5 % accidents due to over speeding.  Young adults in the age group of 18 – 45 years accounted for nearly 69.3 percent of road accident victims. The vulnerable road users accounted for 54% percent in the total road accident deaths.

Low speed streets are key in achieving the Vision Zero, which aimed at preventing a single death in road transportation system. Reducing vehicle speed can prevent crashes happening and can reduce the impact. An average 1 km increase in speed can result in an increase of 3% in crashes, George further said.

Nalin Sinha India Coordinator, GHAI said Government and road enforcement agencies should consider reducing the speed limit for motor vehicles on highways and in urban areas which are very high looking at the current fatality and injury rate in the country and drawing lessons from many countries that reduced speed limit and succeeded in bringing down road crash burden. Evidence and policy reform from several countries suggest that road crash injury and death can be prevented or reduced significantly with good legislation backed by effective enforcement and awareness programs on ground. Therefore, all the stakeholders must come together and work in a collaborative and well-coordinated manner to save precious human lives.

Gaurav Hariom Gupta, Deputy Secretary MoRTH, Government of India highlighted the various initiatives and programmes on road safety. MoRTH is working on School curriculum to inculcate safer behaviour on the road in the mind of children. The Safer Roads resource aims to promote healthy safer lifestyles in young children by fostering positive health and safety attitudes and behaviors that can inform and enhance the quality of their own and other people’s lives. Using new technology can contribute to prevent and reduce the number of road related accidents and improve road safety, he added.

Dr. Bhargab Maitra, Professor, IIT Kharagpur talked about the Speed Facility Development taking place in India but he underlined the importance of traffic accessibility functions as well to ensure road safety on roads.

He touched upon various speed management engineering tools and methods like recording and reporting methods, electronic monitoring of speed and finally he stressed upon the need of capacity building of all the enforcement officials and policy makers on evidence based speed management in India.

Mr. T Elangovan, Executive Director, Kerala Road Safety Authority, Govt. of Kerala who was one of technical panelists, talked about speed control and speed management related measures taken by Govt. of Kerala. He mentioned that the most adversely affected road users from high speed are the vulnerable road users.

He highlighted the utility of Traffic Control Devices, Centrally monitored Traffic Signal Systems and enforcing speed limits through GPS and speed governors which are all very helpful in road safety and being all enforced in Kerala. He also talked about the positive outcome of Safe Kerala Corridors which are now five in number and more to be scaled up soon.

He also stressed upon various engineering methods being enforced in Kerala which are constructing rumble strips, bumps, school zone treatments, putting up proper road markings and signage etc.

Mr. Veerendra Rathore, District Transport Officer, Bhilwara, Rajasthan talked about the key provision of Govt. of India’s speed notification of 2018, Indian Road Congress-00 provisions, Speed Alarming system,, Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) systems, Speed Limit Display System, Section 112 and 183 related provisions of MVA Act, 2019, various types of speed limits including the temporary speed limits being set for one month only and Motor Vehicle Driving Regulations which are related to speeding. He also talked about his speed calming innovative initiatives being enforced in his jurisdiction of Bhilwara district in Rajasthan.

Madhu Sudan Sharma, Senior Program Officer, Summarized the whole proceedings and said that it’s the first time that CUTS and Road Safety Network, India organised a dedicated webinar on speed management in India. He thanked all the panelists and more than 70 participants who were from diverse backgrounds like Government, Enforcement Officials, Media, Road Safety experts and CSOs from more than 10 states of India.

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