Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari on Monday inaugurated the road safety month where he highlighted the government's commitment towards making roads safer.

"Till now, we have been observing National Road Safety Week. But from today, we will observe National Road Safety Month. Seventy per cent of deaths are in the age group of 18-45 years," Gadkari said.

Nitin Gadkari

Concept of zero road fatalities

Addressing the day-to-day problem of increasing road accidents in the country, the minister stressed that there is an urgent need to save lives.

"If we wait till 2030, 6-7 lakhs more people will die. So, we've made a commitment that before 2025, road accidents and deaths due to it will be brought down by 50 per cent with help of people's participation," Gadkari added.

Gadkari recalled the Indian government had, last year, participated in a conference in Sweden, where it was promised to ensure zero road fatalities in India by 2030.

"We had promised to reduce such fatalities by 50 per cent. Tamil Nadu has done it, with a success rate of 53 per cent," the minister informed.

Assessment of road safety regulations 

According to a government statement, the commemoration of road safety month marks the transport ministry's commitment to make roads safer and create awareness among the public, especially the youth, to ensure safety on roads.

During his address, Gadkari also called for cooperation among government departments, non-governmental organisations and others to ensure that awareness regarding road safety is spread universally.

Mangaluru road accident

In his address, the union minister also provided details about how his ministry is currently working to achieve the target of per day construction of roads. "We have achieved the target of constructing 30 kilometres of road, I believe that by the end of March, perhaps we will achieve the target of constructing 40 kilometres of road per day," he added.

"World Bank and ADB (Asian Development Bank) approved two projects worth ₹7000 crore each. We'll receive approval from finance ministry soon. So, we'll spend ₹14,000 crore to improve black spots - death traps - on roads," Gadkari said.

Statistics on India's horrific road accidents

India tops the list among other countries globally when it comes to road accidents. As per a PTI report, India accounts for about five lakh road accidents annually, one of the highest in the world, in which about 1.5 lakh people die and another three lakh are left crippled.

Another report released by the Transport Ministry, published in October last year, said that over a third (nearly 37 per cent) of those killed in road accidents in 2019 were two-wheeler riders. A total of 449,002 road accidents were reported in 2019, of which 151,113 were fatal and 451,361 sustained injuries, as per the report cited by the Times of India.

Moreover, road accident severity measured by the number of persons killed per 100 accidents increased 1.3 percentage points in 2019 over the previous year, the report stated further.

A World Health Organization report had further clarified that more crashes and deaths are a result of faulty licensing laws, improper training, poor roads and unsafe helmets.