NEW DELHI: India, for the first time, will get an apex board of professionals in the next 2-3 months which will guide and advise the government on issues of road and vehicle safety.
The National Road Safety Boardbeing set up under the amended motor vehicle law will also have the responsibility to guide the government for adoption of new technology and for regulating traffic and vehicles.
Currently, the road transport ministry has a small unit of officials who deal with road safety issues in addition to other responsibilities.
Though the board will be an advisory body, it will play a crucial role as it will have technical committees under its to look into different aspects of safety ranging from civil engineering to vehicle construction and standards, suggesting recall of motor vehicles and of safety equipment.
The road transport ministry has put up a draft notification for setting up of the board barely two days after Union minister Nitin Gadkaricommitted to the global leaders in Swedish capital Stockholm to act systematically to reduce road fatalities in the country. India has nearly 11% of all road deaths in the world.
The board with minimum three and maximum seven members will be headed by a chairman who must have held the post of secretary or equivalent post and the members must have worked at least in the rank of additional secretaries.
However, the key criteria for their selection will be their experience in the fields related to road transport and safety, urban planning, law, traffic management and regulation, police enforcement and investigation, insurance and civil engineering. The chairman and members will have a term of three years and they can be reappointed for a maximum of another three years.
The board will help formulate specific standards for road safety, traffic management and road construction for hilly regions and also in determining the cost of safety equipment. “It will develop, in consultation with state authorities, a regulatory framework for regulation of commercial establishments, billboards and commercial signage,” the draft notification said.
It will also have the power to conduct research, by way of collecting data and planning activities to improve road safety, traffic management and crash investigation, according to the notification.
The board will have technical working groups which shall consist of independent technical experts for specific tasks such as traffic management, crash investigation and forensics, data collection and analytics. There will also be technical groups for motor vehicle standards, driving skill testing and development of technology for checking driving under the influence of alcohol.
In order to give protection to the board for action taken in good faith, the draft notification has proposed, “No suit, prosecution of other legal proceedings shall lie against the central government or board or any office of the central government or any other member, officer or other employees of the board for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under the Act or the rules or regulations made there under.”Source: TOI