Fix the pothole problem

Fix the pothole problem

Article:

  1. Piyush Tewari, CEO, Save LIFE Foundation, emphasized on problems caused by potholes and also suggested ways to address these problems.

Important Analysis:

2. Potholes are usually caused by the presence of heavy traffic and water on roads.

3. Studies conducted in cities such as Chandigarh and Mumbai point to the lack of a proper drainage system and weak proportioning of aggregates for road construction.

4. The number of deaths caused by potholes is rising day by day in India.

5. In 2016, potholes claimed six lives every day in India.

6. Potholes related deaths mostly caused in monsoon season.

7. However, the large number of potholes related deaths go unaccounted because crash reporting protocols vary from State to State.

8. Deaths caused by potholes:

  • As per the official statistics, potholes claimed 11,836 lives and left 36,421 persons injured in India from 2013 to 2016.
  • State wise data revealed that Madhya Pradesh, Utttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra have maintained a fairly consistent record of being among the top four in road crashes.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, and West Bengal feature regularly among the top 10 States in the same categories.

9. The author highlighted the various challenges to deal with this problem such as:

  • The absence of unified statute or law on road construction, engineering and maintenance.
  • The existing legislation for road safety, the Motor Vehicles Act, has no provisions to ensure accountability of road authorities.
  • Road contractors and engineers not held criminally liable for causing deaths.
  • The Motor Vehicles(Amendment) Bill , 2017, for road safety still awaits passage.

10.The author also highlighted the various solutions to address the problems caused by potholes such as:

a) The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, need to be passed for road safety which includes

  • The Bill aims to rectify several systemic issues by providing a uniform driver licensing system.
  • Protecting children and vulnerable road users.
  • Rationalising penalties and creating accountability in road construction.
  • For any road injury or death, the designated authority responsible to construct road is to be penalized with sum of Rs 1 lakh.
  • The Bill directs that safety standards be prescribed by the central government.

b) Ensure the use of standardized methodology and good quality material for road construction.

c) Need for regular maintenance and an effective system to ensure accountability.

d) Need to incorporate the safe system approach in all aspects of road design, engineering, and construction.

e) Take into the possibility of human error.

f) Ensure that the surrounding environment and infrastructure are designed to save lives.

g) At a policy level, need to create an enabling framework that weaves in different progressive aspects across stakeholders sectors under one legislation.

h) The guidelines provided by the Indian Road Congress should be implemented properly.

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