Road safety has many facets and pedestrian safety is one very imperative aspect. A heterogeneous traffic mix that includes high-speed vehicles sharing the road space with vulnerable road users as well as unsafe vehicles that are in poor condition all contribute to the high fatality rates particularly in tough hilly terrains. Indiscipline regarding road safety rules is discredited almost everywhere because people suffer grave injuries and even lost their dear relatives to road accidents. Violation of traffic laws by most of drivers is one of the biggest concerns.
Road safety is the major concern of State Government and various steps have been taken to ensure safe and comfortable transport facilities to the commuters. It encapsulates all-from pedestrians to two wheelers and all types of multi-wheel transport.
The State Government has already notified Road Safety Policy on 26th December, 2016 and “The State Transport Development and Road Safety Council” has also been constituted and headed by the Transport Minister.
Himachal Pradesh is the first State in India where the Road Accident Data Management System was launched and implemented successfully for scientifically analysing the accident data. Remedial actions are being taken for reduction of accidents as well as fatalities. The system is functioning smoothly in the State. In order to collect data from field staff, 238 tablets have been distributed to all Police Stations and Police Posts which are GIS-based computerised software system for accident data recording, storage, analysis and dissemination. Short term action plan for the year 2017-18 to 2019-20 and long terms strategy for seven years have been prepared to address the factors causing fatalities and accidents.
The State Transport Department is getting amount out of the compounding fee and the State Government has directly allocated Rs.53 crore to the Public Works Department, Police Department and Transport under road safety. State Government has created HP Transport Infrastructure Fund effective from this financial year. PWD has already issued notification that all the road works costing more than Rs.10 crore in a single project shall have a provision of 0.25 percent of DPR cost towards road safely and road safety audit is conducted by a third party. Road safety ordinance on Kerala model would be implemented in the State.
Black spots on the roads also invite accidents. Nearly, 300 black spots were identified across the State most of which have been removed and 90 black spots needs immediate attention. Road engineering is most important to avoid accidents. Highway Engineers have been shortlisted for training who would further impart training to the other Engineers.
Police has key role in strict implementation of traffic rules. The bureau of Police Research and Development Ministry of Home Affairs has prepared norms for traffic police and equipment have also provided. Speed limiting devices have been installed in many critical junctions and roads which are prone to the accidents. Deputy Commissioners have been provided funds for installation of these devices. PWD is also installing these devices during construction of new roads and also in identified black spots.
According to the Transport Minister, awareness about road safety norms is given utmost priority. The State Government is launching an awareness campaign in schools across the State to provide road safety education to the students. A ‘run’ of about 30000 people from Nagrota to Tanda in Kangra district would be organised in the 2nd week of August to create awareness about roads safety among masses. Transport Department has initiated the exercise to hire suitable agency for preparation of clipping on road safety to be shown in Cinema Halls.
Strict implementation of Traffic laws is being ensured in the State. Punishments for breaking law and imposing fines have been enhanced. Besides over-speed, triple riding and riding without helmet are being strictly dealt with. 1104 driving licenses have been suspended during last three months for violation of traffic rules. State Government has asked the authorities concerned to remove junk vehicles and all type of junk/kabbad from the roads to avoid obstruction. Proper road signals are also ensured.
It is very important to observe traffic laws due to large number of pedestrians on the roads as most of the population prefers to walk or take the public transport services like buses or taxis. The entire mentality about traffic rules needs to change for making our roads accident free.