Black spots in focus as highway deaths galore

Highways in the State have 748 accident-prone spots where authorities claim permanent rectification works are under way
Black spots in focus as highway deaths galore
Road accident black spots are identified based on the accident data available for the three consecutive years.Ilustration by Saai

When black spots are identified, temporary measures like information or warning signboards, rumble strips, cautionary blinkers etc are installed immediately

Senior official, NHAI

CHENNAI: 16,578 accidents and 5,966 fatalities — the three-year count from 748 black spots on national highways in Tamil Nadu from 2016 to 2018 (the latest available data in which the State-central highway departments are working) leaves much to be desired.

The State Highway Department and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), meanwhile, claim to have taken up permanent rectification works including construction of flyovers, realignment of roads, and construction of service roads in 500 black spots on national highways in Tamil Nadu to bring down the accident cases.

Road accident black spots are identified based on the accident data available for the three consecutive years.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has identified 748 locations as black spots on National Highways based on the accident data for 2016, 2017 and 2018. As per the data, 16,578 accidents have happened in those locations between 2016 and 2018, resulting in 5,966 fatalities.

As per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway’s protocol for identifying black spots, an accident blackspot is a stretch of road about 500 metres long. There should have been either 5 road accidents, involving fatalities and grievous injuries, reported on that road in the last 3 calendar years or 10 fatalities in the last 3 years.

Out of 748 black spots, 199 accident spots were reported on the National Highways that are under the maintenance of the State Highways department’s NH wing. Sources in the department said that Rs 350 crore was allotted as part of the Comprehensive Road and Infrastructure Development Programme (CRIDP) and Road Safety Scheme to improve accident spots for reducing road accidents and avoiding fatalities.

Under CRIDP, 401 works have been sanctioned at Rs 200 crore while 99 works is suppoed to be taken up under the Road Safety Fund at Rs 100 crore, the sources said. 556 locations, prone to road accidents, were identified and speed-breakers have been set up.

An official at the NHAI said that as soon as the black spots were identified, temporary measures like information or warning signboards, rumble strips, cautionary blinkers etc had been installed immediately.

“Construction of flyovers, underpasses, service roads, foot overbridges, realignment of curves, junction improvements, including lighting facilities are also taken up,” added the official.

NHAI officials said road safety audits have been made a part of all NH development projects. “MORTH has issued a circular, which makes it mandatory to carry out road safety audit for all new road projects having a length of 5 km or more at the stage of detailed project report,” the official added.

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