TAMIL NADU

GRSP signs MoU with BATF on road safety in City

BANGALORE, JAN. 20. The Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) for facilitating programmes for road safety in Bangalore.

Andrew Downing, GRSP Advisor and International Manager, Safety and Environment, Transport Research Laboratory, U.K., told presspersons here that India was one of the 11 countries participating in the GRSP programme.

Bangalore, he said, had been chosen as it had data available on several aspects of road use and road safety. Besides, the Bangalore City Traffic Police, under the BATF, had taken up several road safety programmes and traffic management plans.

The BATF and GRSP had initiated a road safety partnership programme called ``Suraksha Sanchara'' in October 2000.

Calling for a global partnership between business, civil and government agencies to reduce road accidents, he said the Government alone could not tackle the issue of road safety. A major chunk of the transport sector were private transporters. Therefore, they too should be involved in road safety programmes, he said.

If the rules pertaining to wearing of helmets and seats belts were enforced, it would help save lives. In Bangalore, one life could be saved a day, if the helmet rule was enforced, he said.

Other steps such as enforcement of ``no driving while drunk'' rule, safe zones, outsourcing driver testing, road improvements would help reduce accident deaths.

Mr. Downing said pedestrians and two-wheeler riders formed a major chunk of those killed in road accidents. Though ``Suraksha Sanchara'' had a promising start, Bangalore needed sustainable road safety management, a full-time road safety cell and the implementation of an immediate action plan.

Bangalore, he said, needed a citizen's road safety organisation and CIROS, a non-government organisation, offered that platform.

Citing global figures, he said the first motor vehicle accident in the U.K. was reported in 1886. Since then an estimated 25 million people had died due to road-related accidents.

In 1999 there were 7.5 lakh to 8.8 lakh deaths due to road accidents and nearly 85 per cent of them were in the developing countries. In India, there were 80,000 deaths due to road accidents. Of them 5,000 were in Karnataka.

In Bangalore, at least 650 deaths and 14,000 injuries due to road accidents were reported. Thirty per cent of the casualties were alcohol-related. While motorcycles constituted 33 per cent of the vehicles involved in accidents, heavy and medium vehicles constituted 25 per cent, buses and mini buses formed 15 per cent and cars six per cent.

The adoption of the GRSP in the U.K. had brought down road-related deaths by 32 per cent. It led the U.K. to achieve the lowest toll in 40 years, he said. By adopting low-cost actions in Bangalore, many lives could be saved.

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