“Under the pilot project on busy Gurgaon –Jaipur National Highway No 8 stretch, Government (Ministry of Road Transport & Highways , MoRTH) extends financial assistance of Rs 30,000 for victims of road accidents for medical treatment . Ministry had earmarked Rs 20 Crore for the first pilot project, but the cost in the first year did not exceed Rs Five crore, Seeing the success and data compiled by IIT , Delhi, Ministry has extended it to two new corridors” said Mr Vijay Chibber, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways while inaugurating a seminar on “Role of Insurance Sector in Road Safety” organised jointly by MoRTH & International Road Federation (IRF) here today.
“After completion of the new two pilot projects on Mumbai- Baroda Highway and Ranchi-Jamshedpur Highway, it will be extended to the entire stretch of National Highways in the country at total annual expected cost of Rs 500-600 Crore. This will work as insurance for using highways for the road users. The health and motor vehicle insurance companies should come out with packages for the new projects as they were important key stakeholders for road safety ”said Mr Chibber.
” Under the Gurgaon – Jaipur pilot project, the road accident victims on the stretch are taken to the nearest hospital and for the next crucial 48 hours , their medical cost upto Rs 30,000 is taken care by the government. The cost over the limit is borne by the victim or their families” said Sanjay, Bandopadhyaya , Joint Secretary in the Road Transport Ministry speaking on the occasion.
“The government has also planned to share its centralized vehicle registration data of VAHAN with the insurance companies for better road and driving behaviour as well as to keep a check on quality of the vehicles and designing their risk schedules for the vehicles. Recently some particular brand of vehicles caught fire, so this can help insurance companies calculating their risks”said Mr Bandopadhyaya.
“ With 80 per cent of all road deaths worldwide estimated in low income countries , India leads the world in road accident deaths, with around 1,50,000 people being killed each year. There is one fatal accident every 3.7 minutes, which means 16 people die every hour and 390 every day. 40% of the accidents are of two wheelers by trucks. On an average, 2% of the country’s GDP is lost annually on account of road accidents and fatalities. These accidents often snatch away the sole bread earner in a family, pushing it into financial crisis and untold difficulties.” Said Mr K.K.Kapila, Chairman, International Road Federation (IRF).
“In India road safety capability is just being developed, the best way to reduce the scale of human tragedy is through traditional road safety interventions mainly prevention. As the basic objective of insurance systems is to compensate for losses incurred, the motor and personal injury insurance sector have a potentially key role in ameliorating the consequences of those casualties and crashes not avoided. They will also have an economic interest in the reduction of outlays, via a reduced number of casualties and crashes.” said Mr Kapila.
“Key issues considered during the seminar included · Existing and potential influence of the motor insurance industry, fair and timely compensation of road victims, promotion of safe driving and discouragement of unsafe driving by insurers, funding of road safety activities from motor insurance and likely investment by insurance companies in road safety when faced with a loss making business” added Mr Kapila.
The Seminar will help in reinforcing the role that the insurance sector should play to improve the Indian road safety scenario and to provide assistance to the accident victims in an effective and timely manner. Further, it will pave way for suitable policies and required legislation to streamline the process.