‘Zero fatality week’ goes for a toss; road safety expert expresses concern over accident deaths

Bhubaneswar: As many as 13 road accident deaths were reported yesterday from different parts of Odisha, even as the State observed the first day of Zero Fatality Week. However, road safety expert Subrat Kumar Nanda today expressed his deep concern over the increasing number of deaths.

“Nobody is adhering to the standard operating procedure (SOP), thereby giving rise to road accident deaths. An SOP was prepared after thorough deliberations among experts and senior officials of the Police, Transport, and Health departments. Accordingly, certain guidelines were prescribed on how to remove a vehicle mangled due to a road mishap or that goes out of order while plying on any national highway (NH). Provision for patrolling on highways was also made and a fund of Rs 10 crore was allocated to the Police department for the purpose,” the road safety expert stated.

“Had police patrolling been carried out regularly and the things been managed properly, road accidents could have been minimized on the highways. An additional fund of Rs 50 lakh was allocated for road safety, which is not being utilised properly. There is no provision of truck terminals in the State; as a result, road accidents are taking place very often. There is a lack of coordination between various departments. There is a need to take action against officials concerned,” Nanda said.

“Skilled drivers are not being produced in the State. Along with zero fatality weeks, we should observe zero fine weeks. Awareness among people on road safety must be created throughout the year. Accident victims are not being shifted to hospitals within golden hours, which is crucial to save a life. The rate of deaths due to road mishaps is more than the national average,” the expert asserted.

Worth mentioning, eight persons were killed and several others sustained grievous injuries yesterday as a van in which they were travelling hit a truck on NH-20 near Balijodi in Keonjhar district.

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