Highway mishaps killed 11,781 last yr
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Maharashtra continues to lead in highway accident fatalities. According to National Crime Records Bureau, 71,289 accidents on state highways in 2010 killed 12,340 people and grievously injured 24,386.
In 2011, the fatalities increased to 13,057 in 68,438 accidents. Till November 2012, 59,510 accidents had caused 11,781 deaths.
Additional director general of police (traffic) Vijay Kamble attributed the slight decrease to the central government giving highway police powers to prosecute in 2009.
"I am not saying we are directly responsibe for the decline in accidents, but the number has come down since we started a crackdown on errant drivers," he said.
Kamble said his department collected Rs 58 crore in fines in 2010 and Rs 70 crore in 2011.
He said it was important to educate youngsters in safe driving. "We have been going to colleges across the state and holding awareness programmes for future citizens of the country. We are being helped in this endeavour by Maruti Suzuki."
Kamble said during Road Safety Fortnight, a number of awareness programmes would be held across the state, especially in villages along Mumbai-Pune Expressway .
"It is important to train people living in these areas in first-aid as they are often the first to reach accident spots and attend to victims. I am hopeful once 900 ambulances are at the ready along the 93-km expressway, the number of fatalities will drop further," he said.
Kamble, however, had no solution to offer to prevent accidents. "It all comes down to lack of driving culture. Commuters do not take the simple precaution of checking tyre pressure before driving on highways. Serious accidents occur because overheated tyres burst due to overspeeding."
Young blood spilling unnecessary
ADGP (traffic) Vijay Kamble said 72 of 100 people killed in highway mishaps in the state in 2012 were below 45. "The figure is terrible. Death of young people causes colossal damage to families, friends and even the economy. According to Planning Commission, the country has lost Rs 55,000 crore or 3% of GDP as a result."
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