Sixty-five per cent of road accidents take place on national and State highways in the State and majority of them occur due to drivers’ fault, the Principal Secretary and Transport Commissioner, Chennai S. Machendranathan said on Saturday.

Most accidents are reported only on goods roads, Mr. Machendranathan said while inaugurating a three-day refresher course on defensive driving for van and bus drivers of educational institutions here. The refresher course is being jointly organised by the Automobile Association of Southern India, Tiruchi Centre and Regional Transport Office, Tiruchi.

Stating that 12,500 accidents were reported in Tamil Nadu in a year, Mr. Machendranathan said the casualties figure exceeded over 8,000. Over speeding was one of the chief cause for road accidents, he said while urging the drivers to remain extremely cautious and not lose their concentration while driving.

Notwithstanding awareness campaigns, ‘cell phone driving’ persisted, he said, referring to the fatal accident involving a school van near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district which was caused because the driver was speaking on the mobile phone while driving.

The contribution of drivers in prevention of road accidents was crucial, he said, and called upon them not to lose concentration while driving. Vehicle owners have an equal role in preventing road accidents by engaging two drivers for long distance travel, he said. The District Collector T. Soundiah said the State government was keen on reducing the accident rate. Patience and caution were required for drivers, he said, while seeking the cooperation of all in checking accidents.

The Deputy Transport Commissioner, Tiruchi Region S. Kanagaraj, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) Rupesh Kumar Meena, Regional Transport Officer, Tiruchi S. Munusamy and Transport Department officials were present on the occasion. Around 150 van and bus drivers of educational institutions took part in the refresher course held on Saturday.