NEW DELHI: Robust ambulance services and highway patrol teams can reduce road deaths drastically as was evident in Tamil Nadu where road crash fatalities fell by 54% in 4 years — from 17,218 fatalities in 2016 to 7,287 in 2020. While Rajasthan, Karnataka and Kerala are keen to adopt the Tamil Nadu model, Maharashtra on Tuesday announced to implement it.
Venkatesh Balasubramanian of IIT-M on Tuesday said even if the 2020 road crash and death data are not taken into consideration because of the lockdown, Tamil Nadu has been recording continuous decline in fatalities since 2016.
Now the road transport ministry and World Bank will propagate the TN model — identifying the exact cause of fatalities, ambulance reaching site within 13 minutes, rectifying crash spots and smooth coordination among various agencies — which others can adopt to check the number of road deaths. The state deploys ambulances after identifying accident-prone locations, which has reduced response time considerably. Balasubramanian said one of the focuses is to save as many lives as possible in case of any crash.
India loses 415 lives per day in road crashes, the most across the globe. “If we keep waiting till 2030, at least 6-7 lakh people will die due to road accidents. If Tamil Nadu can do it, all states can make progress,” Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said while launching the month-long Road Safety campaign.
Elaborating about Tamil Nadu, a state transport department official said the steps include collection of robust data on accidents, identifying and elimination of ‘black spots’, providing emergency response and healthcare, educating drivers on safe driving and enforcement by police and the transport wing. The state transport minister holds a meeting of all wings concerned on road safety every third month and the collector of each district chairs a meeting every month. Performance on the road safety front has been made a critical input while analysing the performance of field officers in their annual performance reports.
Times View: Tamil Nadu must be congratulated for coming up with a successful model that helps reduce road deaths. It would be even better if other states adopt this model, with necessary local tweaks.
India is the world’s road death capital. The sooner the tag is lost, the better.