Staff Reporter

Kerala accounts for nearly 12 per cent of the country's road accidents

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With just three per cent of the total population, Kerala accounts for nearly 12 per cent of the country's road accidents. Out of this nearly 45 per cent are accidents involving two-wheelers, observed V. Rajagopal, chief project co-ordinator, National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) in the city on Monday.

He was speaking at a road safety awareness programme organised by NATPAC for NCC at the St. Mary's Higher Secondary School, Pattom here. "The most unfortunate part is that a majority of the fatalities occur among youngsters in the age group of 15 to 44 years," Mr. Rajagopal told a gathering of around 200 NCC cadets who had assembled at the auditorium of the school.

Nearly 650 vehicles hit the road everyday in the State, out of this 450 are two-wheelers. More than 70 per cent of the vehicles registered in our country are two-wheelers; this is when two-wheelers account for less than five per cent of the total number of vehicles in developed countries, he said.

According to Mr. Rajagopal a majority of the road accident victims are not motorists, but pedestrians, cyclists and passengers of public transport. "Last year alone around 35 per cent of the unnatural death in the country occurred owing to road traffic accidents alone."

J. Vijaya Kumar, senior associate NCC officer, said that children and old age people are the most vulnerable group when it comes to road accidents. He attributed the lack of adequate road space as one of the major reasons for the growing number of accidents. "Though efforts are on to widen the road at several places, the pace of widening is very less when compared to the increase in the number of vehicles and pedestrians." Mr. Kumar also urged the pedestrians to pay meticulous attention while observing road rules.

George Mathew Karoor, principal of the school said all seminars on road safety awareness would make sense only when the people for whom it is targeted shows willingness to observe it. "We experience the gravity of road accidents only when the loss is personal," Fr. Karoor added.

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