Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said he was saddened that there has not been a major change in the number of road accidents and fatalities as he cited data for the nine months of this calendar year.
The minister also complimented MPs of the Upper House for passage of the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019, which came into effect from September this year and focuses on road safety.
"It is true that after I looked at statistics today, I am saddened to say there has not been much change in the number of road accidents as well as those killed," Gadkari said in Rajya Sabha.
He was responding to a query whether the government launched public awareness after the passage of amendment bill.
Quoting provisional data obtained from the Supreme Court Committee on Road safety for January-September 2019 in respect of 26 States and 5 Union Territories, Gadkari said there is an overall decrease in road accidents by 2.2 per cent in comparison to the corresponding period of 2018.
However, he said, the total number of fatalities has increased by 0.2 per cent in the same period.
During January-September 2019, over 3.39 lakh accidents took place in which more than 1,12,735 people lost their lives and over 3.45 lakh were injured.
In the year-ago period, over 3.46 lakh accidents took place, causing death of 1,12,469 people and injuring 3.55 lakh person.
Gadkari attributed road engineering as one of the major cause for road accidents and said there are two projects of Rs 7,000 crore each to identify black spots where accidents occur.
Under the new Motor Vehicle Act, the licensing norm has been made stricter and penalties have been increased, he said, adding efforts would be made to reduce the number of people killed in road accidents.
Road accidents occur due to multiple causes such as over speeding, use of mobile phone, drunken driving, overloaded vehicles, poor light condition, jumping red light, overtaking and neglect of civic bodies among other reasons.
The changes in the Motor Vehicle Act has been brought with a focus on road safety. Major changes include stiff hike in penalties for traffic violations and electronic monitoring.