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Safety First: Gadkari’s Grand Goal to Halve Highway Horrors by 2030

In a determined move to prioritize road safety, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has announced an ambitious plan to slash road accident fatalities by a whopping 50% come 2030. Speaking at the CII National Conclave themed ‘Road Safety – Indian Roads@2030 – Raising the Bar of Safety’, Gadkari emphasized that altering social behavior is crucial, in addition to strengthening the ‘4Es of Road Safety’ – Engineering (both Road and Vehicle Engineering), Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Medical Service. He called for the collective effort of all stakeholders in boosting road safety measures.

Painting a sobering picture of the current road safety scenario, the Union Minister highlighted startling statistics from the 2022 Road Accidents Report: approximately 4.6 Lakh road accidents, leading to 1.68 Lakh deaths and 4 Lakh serious injuries. This translates to 53 accidents and 19 fatalities every hour. The minister also noted a disturbing 12% rise in road accidents and a 10% increase in accident-related deaths, accounting for a substantial 3.14% socio-economic loss to India’s GDP. A significant 60% of these deaths occur in the young age group of 18 to 35 years, representing not only a personal tragedy for families but also a professional loss to employers and an overall dent in the economy.

In a ray of hope, Gadkari cited the positive impact of incentivizing good traffic behavior among citizens, as evidenced in Nagpur. He also underscored the importance of regular eye check-ups for drivers, urging organizations to organize free camps as part of their corporate social responsibility. The path forward, according to the Union Minister, involves extensive education and awareness initiatives among schools, colleges, and collaboration with NGOs, start-ups, technology providers, IITs, universities, traffic and highway authorities, to spread best practices in road safety.

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