The government expects a 20% decline in road accidents from the current 5 lakh a year, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
"When the latest road accidents data comes in March, we expect about 15 to 20% decline...I feel pained on such high number of accidents in which mostly youth in the age of 18 to 35 years die. We could not get much success in preventing accidents and resultant deaths but due to consistent efforts, there was a decline of 4.1% in 2016 and 4.75% in 2017 in road accidents," the minister said after flagging off a motor rally here. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was also present.
The rally will cover 7,250 km in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It will also spread awareness about road safety.
Parliament's nod to pending legislation Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill will also help curb the accidents, he said.
The Bill provides for stringent penalties in cases of offences and violation of traffic rules.
Currently, 5 lakh road accidents a year, the highest in the world, take place in the country in which about 1.5 lakh people die.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, was introduced in the Upper House in April 2017, but was referred to a select panel. After taking into account the panel's recommendations, the Bill was re-introduced in the Rajya Sabha and is still pending there.