Tamil Nadu has seen dip in number of road accidents since 2016: Transport Authority

The recent accident involving a container lorry and the Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus in Tiruppur has put the spotlight on the need for rigorous road safety measures in the State. The Road Transport Department’s safety wing, however, said the total number of accidents has been coming down since 2016. Citing data, a senior official of the State Transport Authority said fatalities have been coming down.

He said the total number of fatalities in 2019 was 10,525 against 12,216 in 2018 (January to December). In 2017, the total number of deaths recorded was 16,157, while in 2016, which has been kept as the base year, it was 17,218. T.S.

Jawahar, Transport Commissioner, acknowledged that one of the main causes of road accidents was black spots on highways. He said as per the Report on Road Safety, nearly 170 black spots were identified in 2013-14 all over the network of highways. Black spot analysis was done based on the direction of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety to identify accident spots where 5 or more fatalities were recorded between 2013 and 2015.

A total of 85 black spots in 2014-15 and 64 in 2015-16 were identified. In 2016-17, these spots were marked in 44 places, which were recommended for corrective measures. Mr.

Jawahar said the measures involved short, mid and long-term steps comprising fixing of barricades, speed breakers, installation of highmast lights and reflectors and improvement of intersections.

Monitoring system

Mr. Jawahar added that the automatic monitoring system, for which the State government allotted INR25 crore, once implemented would prevent speeding and bring down accident rates in the coming years. According to Highways Department sources, for the State, which has a total of 6,634 km of National Highways and 11,169 km of State Highways, during 2014-15 to 2018-19, a total amount of INR1,152.19 crore was allocated for black spot correction.

This lead to the decrease in fatalities. The National Highways Authority of India too, which identified 78 black spots last year, has corrected 17 of them and work is under way at 43 spots. The cost in terms of medical expenses, loss of work, productivity, income and physiological and psychological suffering is pegged at around INR22,200 crore annually in Tamil Nadu. “We ensure that road safety is an integral part of road design right from the planning stage and when accidents happen, our officials visit the spot immediately to assess the reason along with the police officers.

A Road Accident Data Management System that is under the combined control of the police and the highways department helps keep tab of causes and efforts taken to reduce accidents,” an official explained. A former Highways Department engineer explained that though highways were designed for high speed, the police took steps to curb speeding. “There are patrol teams on roads near city limits to ensure vehicles maintained speed limits.

Several greenfield and even brownfield projects that are being planned in the State are access-controlled roads where cross traffic is prevented and local traffic remains on the service lanes.

The Chennai Outer Ring Road is an example of this,” he added.

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