Road accident deaths drop 6.7% in Haryana in the first six months of 2019
There has been a 6.7% decline in road fatalities in Haryana in the first six months of 2019, in comparison to the same time period last year. This year, 2,537 fatalities were registered against 2,721 fatalities last year till June 30. However, 80% victims of road accidents were pedestrians (32% fatalities) and two-wheeler riders (48%fatalities).
This was revealed in the data presented by Haryana Vision Zero (HVZ) during a state road safety council meeting held in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
The HVZ and the Haryana Police, both, attributed the decline to stricter rule enforcement, regular organization of the monthly road safety committee meetings and implementation implementations of suggestions recommended by road safety experts in each district.
“Enforcement has been a major factor in reducing the number of road fatalities. Overall, fines for traffic violations such as speeding, drink-driving, wrong-side driving, traffic light jumping, driving without seat belts or helmets, using mobile phones while driving, increased by 25-30% this year compared to last year,” HVZ programme coordinator Sarika Panda Bhatt said.
According to the data, maximum decline in fatalities was reported from Charkhi Dadri, Kaithal and Hisar at 50%, 40% and 28%, respectively.
A 10-20% decline was observed in Bhiwani, Jhajjar, Kurukshetra, Mahendragarh, Mewat (Nuh), and Sonipat, while 0-10% decline was seen in Gurugram, Fatehabad, Jind, Karnal, Rohtak and Yamunanagar districts.
However, fatalities increased by 0-5% in districts of Ambala, Panchkula, Palwal, and Rewari. In Panipat, Sirsa, Faridabad, fatalities increased by 34%, 18%, and 12%, respectively.
HVZ officials said during the first six months of 2018-19 approximately 40% of road fatalities (1,010 deaths) took place on 30 national highways even though they make for only 9% of total road length in the state.
Haryana has a road network of 42,399 kms, of which 2,622 km is national highways. The Haryana Vision Zero programme, based on a concept introduced by the Swedish parliament in 1997, is aimed at achieving zero fatalities in road accidents across Haryana for which a team of road safety experts from private and public sectors was formed. It was introduced in May 2017 in 10 districts. Last year, all 22 districts were covered under the programme.
Bhatt said that HVZ and the Haryana police are targeting 10% overall decline in road fatalities by the end of this year. In 2018, 5,118 fatalities were recorded, 5,120 fatalities were registered in 2017, 5,024 fatalities were registered in 2016, and 4429 in 2015.
“Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has set a target of reducing road fatalities by 10% every year. We are on course to achieve this as more engineering changes will be introduced on critical stretches in next two months. Overall, barring December, when fatalities are slightly higher, rate of accidents remains uniform in remaining 11 months. District-wise road safety plans have been chalked out and they are likely to reduce accidents by 20% by next year,” Bhatt said.
She said the monthly district road safety committee meetings have also been taking place regularly this year as compared with 2018. So, a larger number of engineering changes are being implemented on-ground as civic agencies and senior officers are regularly asked for updates. “All this, has made roads safer,” she said.
Some of the engineering changes, recommended by HVZ, that have been implemented by authorities include introduction of speed calming and rumble strips, installing road signage and markings, fixing existing streetlights and installing new ones, and buildings foot-over-bridges and subways.
Additional director general of police (ADGP), law and order, Navdeep Singh Virk echoed Bhatt’s reasoning.
“The first step for reducing fatalities was to identify why accidents happen at all. Once it was established that most fatalities were a result of traffic violations, engineering defects or lapses, necessary measures were adopted. This year, there has been a sterner approach in checking these causal factors, thus the reduction in the fatality rate,” Virk said.
He supported his reasoning by citing police data which shows that 11.70 lakh fines were issued across state till June 30.
He added that the Haryana Police is looking to introduce more measures to curb accidents, such as applying neon pain to vehicles that have broken down on highways.
“We are targeting that the total number of accidents will be brought down by more than 7% by the year-end,” Virk added.
Road safety experts said the final figures at year end will be a true indicator of the decline in fatality rate as they increase during the winter months because of the weather conditions.
“Fog affects visibility and so the number of accidents increases during the winter in northern India. It is important to wait till the end of the year to draw a correct picture. Regardless, the first six months have been encouraging. In other states, road fatalities have mostly increased,” said Sewa Ram, an urban transport systems design expert and a faculty member at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi.