Child road safety report sets off alarm bells, minister Gadkari says it’s a ‘failure’ for him
Gadkari, who launched the ‘Rear Seat-Belt Usage and Child Road Safety in India’ report, pointed that almost 90% Indians also face safety risks by not using rear seat belts.Updated: Jan 11, 2019 23:14 IST
Nine out of 10 Indians do not secure children with seat belts while travelling in four-wheelers or ensure they wear helmets on two-wheelers, according to a study, which Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari cited on Friday while describing safety on Indian roads as a failure of his department.
Gadkari, who launched the ‘Rear Seat-Belt Usage and Child Road Safety in India’ report, pointed out that almost 90% Indians also face safety risks by not using rear seat belts. The report, conducted by Nissan India and a non-profit, Save LIFE Foundation, is based on a survey conducted in 11 major cities with 6,306 respondents.
The report also said that 98% of the respondents were not using rear seat belts. It also noted that 80% respondents do not buy helmets for their children. This, despite the fact that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the parents surveyed said they considered city roads unsafe for children and child safety laws are needed.
“This report documents, for the first time in India, the concerning state of child safety on our roads and the public’s perception and expectation regarding the usage of rear seat belts. It is high time that basic provisions such as child helmets, safety measures in school zones, child seats, special training for school bus and van drivers, and adult accountability be made mandatory. We will also request the minister to include the issue of child safety in the Bhartiya Janta Party’s election manifesto,” said Piyush Tewari, CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation.
Fifty-three accidents and 17 deaths occur every hour due to road accidents, according to the transport ministry’s data for 2017. “Road safety is the most important subject in our country. Each year, we have 5 lakh accidents and 1.5 lakh deaths. It is very unfortunate that it is the highest in the world...even with police protection and a red beacon car I faced an accident and hence I’m very sensitive about it,” Gadkari said.
“We have reduce road deaths by 4% this year, but we noticed in some states accidents and deaths have increased. Even though it is not good for me, we have decided to publish the report of every state to show the people of India. In my own ministry, we have had a lot of success stories but this is one where I always feel that this is a failure for me, I don’t have any hesitation to expose my own department regarding the statistics...,” he added.
The minister said that the transport ministry is also working towards eliminating “black spots”, and the government has already spent more than ?20,000 crore for this. Black spots are spots in different cities where road accidents are common. “We have also taken many preventive measures in automobile engineering. It will be mandatory to include a seat-belt alert system soon ...Regarding driving licenses we need some serious approach, it is the easiest thing in India to get a DL [driving licence]. We need training institutes and work on elimination of duplication of DLs ,” Gadkari added.
First Published: Jan 11, 2019 23:14 IST