Karnataka fails to walk the talk on pedestrian safety

Karnataka is among the six states with a high rate of pedestrian deaths that have failed to submit a report sought by the Centre on the implementation of pedestrian safety guidelines issued in 2015.

The six states have recorded more than 1,000 pedestrian deaths, as per the data compiled by the Ministry of Road Transport Corporations and Highways (MoRTH).

Following direction by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the MoRTH had written to all the states and union territories to submit a report on the implementation of the guidelines, including spot inspections, for pedestrian safety issued through a circular in June 2015.

Data compiled till 2017 shows that Karnataka has consistently recorded deaths of more than 1,000 pedestrians per year for three consecutive years. Tamil Nadu (3,507 deaths), Maharashtra (1,831), Kerala (1,332) and Haryana (1,071) have also not submitted the report. Karnataka recorded 1,054 fatalities.

Madhya Pradesh is the only state with a high rate of pedestrian deaths that has sent a comprehensive report to the ministry. “Following NHRC letter, the union ministry has written three reminders since the beginning of 2018 to the public works department (PWD) to send the report. However, there has been no report yet,” sources in the Transport department said.

While the MoRTH circular focussed on construction and streamlining of infrastructure for pedestrians on national highways, the sources said that the PWD was expected to develop such standardisation for road works on state highways and roads in major cities.

A PWD official said steps have been taken up to eliminate the black spots on some of the busy roads in Bengaluru, where pedestrians accounted for nearly 40% of the accident fatalities last year. “A comprehensive study is needed before one can submit the data. The engineers in PWD have been frequently transferred over the last one year, making such exercises difficult,” an official said.

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