SC asks states to set up trauma centre in each district

SC asks states to set up trauma centre in each district

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked all states to set up one trauma centre in each district, saying treatment soon after a road accident is crucial for saving the life of the victim. The country has recorded one death every three minutes in road accident.

The top court issued a slew of directions for road safety to save thousands of lives lost in road accidents and crores of rupees paid to mishap victims as compensation. The directions included setting up of permanent road safety cells, collection of road accident data and making it public, universal accident helpline number, inclusion of road safety education in school curriculum, preparing protocol for road design and identification of black spots.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta passed the orders as part of regular mandamus in a PIL filed by S Rajaseekaran, an orthopaedic surgeon and president of Indian Orthopaedic Association. The court took into consideration works done by the Justice K S Radhakrishnan Committee on road safety and details of the measures undertaken by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and state governments collated by amicus curiae Gaurav Agrawal.

The court noted that huge amounts running into hundreds of crores of rupees had been earmarked for road safety and insurance companies had spent an amount of Rs 11,480 crore by way of compensation for deaths, injuries, third party property damage and other damage due to road accidents during the financial year 2015-16.

"On November 7, 2016 we noted that there was one death almost every three minutes as a result of road accidents. Unfortunately, the legal heirs of half the victims were not compensated (perhaps being  unaware of their entitlement). We expressed our distress at this unfortunate situation," the bench said.

The Centre, however, has decided to amend the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 to remedy the situation by preparing a bill, it noted.

Among its directions, the court directed for setting up of road safety council, road safety funds from fines collected for traffic violations, district road safey committee, road safety audit, driver and lane training, universal accident helpline number of 108, created by National Health Mission, fitment of location tracking device in all public service vehicles.

"It appears that one of the main reasons for road accidents is the poor quality of roads, improper  design, etc. The Ministry is of the opinion that the protocol for road design and identification of black spots needs to be reviewed and enforced. Accordingly, it is directed that the Ministry should  publish a protocol for identification and rectification of black spots and take necessary steps for improving the design of roads to make them safe," the bench said.

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