International Road Federation (IRF), Geneva based global body working for better and safer roads world wide has expressed deep concern at high death toll of about 45 in the bus accident in remote Nerwa area in Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh today.
“The hill roads in the country are prone to regular road accident a lot needs to be done to ensure road safety, especially in higher areas including Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and North East states in the country the government should plan to incorporate the latest technologies and safety features, including installation of soil and slope stabilisation and roadside safety in the hilly terrain infrastructure, crash barriers, intelligent traffic plans, rumble strips, use of speed governors and proper signage’s”. said Mr Kapila.
“ Special separate tough driving license for hill drivers, use of vehicle tracking system, tough vehicle fitness norms and certification and development of safety code for hills should also be adhered to make road travel safe and sustainable on hills” said Mr Kapila.
“Recent announcement by Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as well as confirmed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to installation of crash barriers and parapets on the entire route of the Char Dham yatra, including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath, to curb accidents and make the pilgrimage safer is welcome. Road crash barrier systems are used worldwide on highways, especially on hill roads, to physically prevent vehicles from running off the roadway or falling down a steep slope and protect vehicle hitting a road side object. Similar crash barriers should be installed in all hill roads” Said MR Kapila.
“At present, most of the hill roads in the country have been constructed around hill slopes, which remain cut off during heavy rains due to landslides. Construction of well-engineered safe tunnels and long bridges will help in movement of traffic round the year. The Ministry of Road and State PWD’s should focus on engineering safe roads rather than more roads as rectifying faulty designed roads with black spots is more expensive than building safe roads. Similarly, the stress should also be on safe vehicles with higher visibility features, including ABS brakes, reflective tapes on commercial vehicles and mandatory fog lamps on all vehicles,” said Mr Kapila.