VISAKHAPATNAM: The last few years have seen a significant increase in the number of fatal accidents on national highways across the state. Experts believe that ‘black spots’ (areas where the structure of the road makes it accident-prone) is responsible for this increase.
Around two years ago, the road transport authority (RTA) had identified around 1,013 black spots on national and state highways across the state. Following identification, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and other concerned departments took up the task of fixing these. RTA officials say that 925 black spots have been rectified and only 88 black spots remain.
The works however have not had serious impact on the number of people dying in accidents on the state’s highways. On average, 3,016 lives are lost on highways in a year. A report published by the ministry of road transport and highways showed that 12,068 people have died on national highways between 2015 and 2018. Of the 33,314 road accidents in highways in the state between 2015 and 2018, a total of 10,902 accidents had resulted in fatalities. The persistence of fatal accidents despite the rectification of black spots has led officials to also look for other explanations. One of them, obviously, is the scourge of over-speeding.
Speaking to TOI, deputy transport commissioner of Vizag, GC Raja Ratnam said that engineering works could help mitigate road accidents in accident-prone areas.
Meanwhile, a senior police official who spoke to TOI on condition of anonymity said that while black spots were certainly a problem, overspeeding also causes a large number of these accidents.
“Of the 7,556 people who died in road accidents in 2018, 6,196 people were killed because one of the parties involved in the accident was overspeeding,” he said.
B Lokanatham, a senior leader of CPI (M) said that the problem is that the road safety audit is not done after laying roads. “There are various factors for the increase in the number of road accidents. Proper patrolling of highways and enforcement of traffic norms will help reduce accidents,” he said.
Lokanatham further said that the government should set up more trauma care centres along highways. “That will reduce the number of fatalities by at least 30%,” he added.
A total of 7,556 people have died and 23,456 people have suffered injuries in road accidents in Andhra Pradesh in 2018.
Date: November 28, 2019