Govt to set up national body to oversee road safety issues

December 2, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash,TNN |

NEW DELHI: After facing criticism for doing little on road safety despite 1.4 lakh deaths every year in crashes, the transport ministry has decided to set up an apex body to address all road safety-related issues. The ministry plans to establish the body through an executive order rather than following a lengthy legislative procedure.

The Road Safety and Traffic Management Board will have overarching powers to seek explanation and issue directions to both government and private agencies on all issues relating to road safety, said a senior government official. He added that the board will have powers to summon vehicle manufacturers, if it finds any fault in vehicles involved in accidents.

Sources said the board will have powers to recommend minimum design, construction, operation and maintenance standards for national highways besides conducting safety audits to monitor compliance. It can also conduct research in different spheres of road safety and traffic management besides recommending mechanism for data collection.

Different agencies including World Health Organization (WHO) have pushed the need for a central body that can coordinate and oversee road safety-related issues in India. At present, there is little coordination among different wings of governments at the Centre and states working on road safety.

The transport ministry has decided to take the executive order route to create the board as the amendment in Motor Vehicles Act to increase penalty for traffic violations is pending before the Lok Sabha for 18 months after it was passed by the Rajya Sabha. Sources said the ministry and WHO are roping in some Lok Sabha MPs across parties to hold a dialogue during the next Parliament session. The plan is to push passage of the bill since road safety experts feel increasing penalty for violation of traffic rules would prove a deterrent to vehicle users.


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