A silent witness to hundreds of fatal accidents, the national highways seem to become comparatively safer upon entering the National Capital.
Deaths in accidents on national highways are increasing across the country, but the stretches that cut across Delhi have registered a significant decline in fatalities.
For the first 11 months during the last three years, the national figure for road deaths on the national highways rose by 7-8%. In Delhi, it came down by 20%.
Till November this year, a total of 262 people — majority of them pedestrians and two wheeler riders — were killed in road accidents on seven the national highways in Delhi. This is about 20% less than the toll during the same period last year — 329.
While six roads have shown a decline in fatalities, deaths on GT Road have increased.
The total death toll on the seven national highways in the national Capital stood at 361 in 2011 as compared to 352 in 2010.
“This is a huge achievement for the city, vehicular population of which is much higher than vehicular population of three other metros — Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata — combined,” said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
Traffic police said some strategic interventions to make these stretches safer for pedestrians and bikers -- the most vulnerable group -- have brought good returns.
Some of these measures include speed calming strips, signals for pedestrians and traffic, road signages, prosecuting commercial vehicles, regular drives against drunk driving and speeding among others.
Towards the end of last year, the traffic police had conducted a study to identify the reasons for fatal road accidents on the national highways. “Based on the findings, we have taken immediate low-cost measures which are showing results,” said Garg.
He said the number of deaths of pedestrians and bikers has registered a sharp decline on these seven road stretches.
Pedestrian deaths have fallen from 874 till November last year to 734 till November this year. Bikers’ deaths have also come down from 615 last year (till November) to 518 in the same duration.
The traffic police hope that there will be further decline in the number of deaths in the coming year. “We are going to introduce night interceptors for to check the speed of vehicles from next year. It will help in further bringing down fatal accidents,” Garg said.