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Braking TN’s killer record

On an average, about 45 road accident deaths occur across the state every day. Sources told DT Next that as per the Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) reading, the number of accidents and the fatalities have only gone up.

Braking TN’s killer record
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Chennai

With an average of 45 deaths in road accidents in the state, the traffic planning cell is set to install speed cameras in accident-prone areas, among other measures.

When the demands of the Transport department come up for discussion on July 17 in the ongoing Assembly session, the increasing number of road accidents in Tamil Nadu is likely to figure prominently. Traffic experts say the state has the dubious distinction of recording the highest number of accident deaths across the country.

 When the demands of the Transport department come up for discussion on July 17 in the ongoing Assembly session, the increasing number of road accidents in Tamil Nadu is likely to figure prominently. Traffic experts say the state has the dubious distinction of recording the highest number of accident deaths across the country.

India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration that has committed to reduce the number of road accidents by 50 per cent by 2020. With merely three years left to achieve this feat, Tamil Nadu has only shown a reverse growth, with the number of accidents only going up and not coming down.

On an average, about 45 road accident deaths occur across the state every day. Sources told DT Next that as per the Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) reading, the number of accidents and the fatalities have only gone up. 

According to sources in the transport department, a number of measures are being planned, to address this grave issue, which leads to a severe social impact, when young men and women are killed, paralysing the financial worth running into crores, of hundreds of families, not to mention the cost of their emotional survival. “There are several projects in the pipeline and the government does see this as an issue that demands immediate attention. Several studies have been conducted to identify the problem and main accident spots in Tamil Nadu have been mapped,” a senior transport official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The State Traffic Planning Cell, the agency responsible for collating the accident data on RADMS across the state, has also been consulted. “There are plans to fix speed detection cameras at these accident spots to control over-speeding. Once over-speeding is controlled, most of the accidents can be prevented,” Amaresh Pujari, director of State Traffic Planning Cell, said. The transport department has decided to come up with several such programmes and money is being spent district-wise to create awareness, he added.

Officials opine that Tamil Nadu should try to emulate Kerala in the traffic management system, as its entire stretch of  National Highways is covered under an automated speed detection camera system. The speed cameras capture the image of the number plates of vehicles that cross the prescribed speed limit and an automated challan is generated at its central control hub in Eranakulam. The challan is then sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. Unless the fine is paid, the vehicle owner cannot get any of his vehicle documents updated. This system does not differentiate between VIPs and common motorists and every one is forced to pay the fine. 

According to Rajeev Puthalath, a senior Kerala transport official, accidents have reduced considerably after they brought all major highways under camera surveillance. All these cameras are installed at accident-prone areas and regular travellers now know the location of these cameras and drive within prescribed speed limits, thereby preventing accidents. The department is now installing dummy cameras in other areas, just to invoke the fear of being watched as a way of curbing preventing over-speeding.

According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways analysis, 62.2 percent of accidents occur due to over-speeding by drivers and the same causes 61 percent of deaths in road accidents. “This is the core area that the department should try to focus upon. Strict enforcement part is equally important,” the transport official said.

“Installing cameras are the best way to reduce accidents. We have seen on road that when motorists see a policeman, they reduce the speed and drive properly. So cameras will work in this aspect and it would reduce accidents in Tamil Nadu”, said A Devakumar, Traffic Warden, Road Safety Patrol. He added that while installing cameras, police should also ensure that the penalty paid by the motorist reach the government and that all challans are followed up properly.

Graphic picture
Rural Tamil Nadu witnesses more road accidents, compared to urban areas, say findings
No of persons killed in road accidents every day in TN (average): 45
No of road accidents reported everyday in TN (average):  190
Overspeeding accounts for 62.2 per cent of road accidents and 61 per cent of fatalities on road
People injured in road accidents everyday in TN (average):   220
People  killed in road accidents in TN in 2015: 15,642
Number injured in road accidents in TN in 2015: 79,746
Over 54  per cent of people who died were aged between 15 and 34
28.4 per cent of  accidents occur on National Highways , 24 per cent on State Highways
Total no of vehicles in TN 2, 20,33,780
Remedial measures 
  • Transport department to install automatic speed detection cameras in accident-prone areas
  • Special district-wise funding allocated by transport department to increase awareness regarding safe driving practices 
  • Helmet and seat belt rules to be strictly implemented
  • Studies conducted to identify the reasons for crowing number of accidents 

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