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Call to make road safety a national priority

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 20 - Concerned over road accidents killing thousands of people across the country, eminent citizens and road accident victims have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to make road safety a national priority and to ensure passage of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017 during the upcoming session of Parliament.

The Bill that seeks to strengthen the laws regarding road safety, has been languishing in the Parliament for almost two years. The Consumer Legal Protection Forum, Assam which is a member of the Consumer Co-ordination Council, New Delhi, has also asked the Prime Minister as well as the minister concerned to make the issue a priority that would go a long way in stopping the avoidable road crashes every day.

Ajoy Hazarika, secretary, Consumer Legal Protection Forum, Assam said, �The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017 is very crucial from the point of road safety. So, we strongly urge our Parliamentarians to pass this Bill in the current monsoon session to save thousands of precious lives.�

The letter reminds the Prime Minister that over 1.5 lakh road traffic fatalities occur year after year, with more than five lakh injuries, many of them disabled for life. Road safety shows no sign of improvement despite the matter being closely monitored by the Supreme Court.

While Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has made a personal commitment to the issue of road safety, his ministry has failed to push the Bill through in the Parliament. �The country will also miss the goal of reducing road traffic injury and death by 50 per cent by 2020, set in the Brasilia Declaration, to which India is a signatory,� the letter stated.

The road safety community has consistently stressed that road safety is not about blaming the drivers, but about creating a safer road system, which includes safer roads, safer vehicles, safer users and speed control, besides stricter monitoring and stiffer penalties.

�The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill addresses many of these issues, which coupled with robust enforcement, can significantly reduce the burden of road traffic trauma, thus avoiding needless loss of human life, suffering and economic loss to the country�, said Road Safety Network, a coalition of road safety bodies, which led the effort to get eminent citizens from across the nation to endorse the issue.

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