Road accidents in the State have gone down over the last four years, State transport minister, V. Senthil Balaji, said.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the 24th road safety week observed by the transport department and the Tamil Nadu Van Owners’ Association, at the K.K. Nagar Regional Transport Office (RTO) on Wednesday.

According to Mr. Balaji, in 2007, the vehicle population was 98 lakh, the accident rate was 0.60 per cent and death rate, 0.117 per cent. In 2011, the vehicle population rose to 1.48 crore but the accident and death rates were 0.44 per cent and 0.10, respectively.

The number of accidents related to state transport corporation buses, too, seem to have fallen. In 2006-2007, 7,527 accidents occurred resulting in 1,360 deaths. In 2007-2008, the number of accidents shot up to 8,749 causing 1599 deaths.

“But in 2011-2012 there were only 7,108 accidents and 1,237 deaths,” said Mr. Balaji.

He added that many of the accidents happened on national highways.

“The Central government should try to have flyovers in important places on the highway. This will help in reducing accidents and also aid in smooth movement of vehicles,” he said.

The State government has also increased the amount allocated for the road safety fund, he said. “In 2001, it was only Rs. 2 crore and in 2011-2012 it was increased to Rs. 40 crore. This year, a total of Rs. 65 crore has been allotted for road safety. This amount will be used for road-widening and purchase of everything that is needed to ensure safety on the roads,” Mr. Balaji said.

He said the driver training institute in Gummidipoondi would be upgraded into a world-class driving research centre in order to bring out quality drivers.

The venue is also hosting the Institute of Road Transport’s mobile road safety exhibition. “We are trying to create awareness among schoolchildren about road safety. We are already doing it in Gummidipoondi. If schools contact us, we will send the bus to their institutions, free of cost,” said a transport department official.

Accident rate was 0.6% in 2007, fell to 0.44 in 2011

Road safety fund increased to Rs. 65 crore in 2012

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