- In 2015, 400 people were killed in road accidents every day
- There are no comprehensive road safety legislation in the country yet
- Existing Motor Vehicles Act may be replaced with the proposed bill
Fresh data submitted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in the Rajya Sabha this week indicates just how alarming the situation is. 1,46,133 people were killed in road accidents in India in 2015, a 4.6% rise over 2014 when 1,39,671 people were killed.
In the past one decade, over 1.3 million people have been killed in road accidents but there is still no comprehensive road safety legislation in the country. According to the 234th report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture which has recently been tabled in Parliament, there are several stumbling blocks for replacing the existing Motor Vehicles Act with a proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015.
According to the report, the Ministry "wanted to change the entire architecture over road transport and road safety in the whole country, basically, setting up a set of authorities at the Central level and the State level to control all aspects of transport and public transport including driving licences."
However, this has not been possible because "the main hitch is on sharing of revenues between the Centre and the state" in implementing the changes which have been proposed. In an effort to still try and push the safety measures through, the government claims it is trying to focus on noncontroversial, achievable goals such as "an increase in the penalty for drunken driving or increasing the penalty for unauthorized driving, minor driving."
While it is well established that our roads and highways are deadly to travel on, according to the data, the states with the highest number of road accidents in 2015 are Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. These states contribute 29.66% to the total number of accidents recorded nationwide. The same states also recorded the highest number of injuries at 2,75,873 in 2015.