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AC-cabins for truck drivers among measures to reduce accidents

Amid concerns in the Rajya Sabha over rising toll in road accidents, the government on Monday said it intends to reduce the casualties by the half in the next five years through a number of measures like providing AC cabins to truck drivers and creating access-controlled expressways.

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari told the House that a number of safety measures are being taken up to minimise accidents, while increasing the length of National Highways from 96,000 km to 2 lakh km.

Responding to a query, he said in 2014, the number of people killed in accidents was 1,39,671 and many of these were because of deficiencies in design. “We will bring down the number of deaths in road accidents by 50 per cent,” he said.

He said his ministry has identified 726 ‘blackspots’, which would be set right at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore.

Work on the four-laning of two-lane highways will also be taken up, he said, adding that ambulances have also been placed on highways. He also appreciated a member’s suggestion regarding setting up Trauma Centres.

Figures show that after a slight reduction in the number of persons killed in accidents in 2013, it again went up by over 20,000 in 2014.

While a total of 1,42, 485 people were killed in accidents in 2011, it was 1,38,258 in 2012. There was a slight decline in 2013 with the toll pegged at 1,37,572. The year 2014 saw a rise with 1,39,671 people having lost their lives in accidents.

Aiming to reduce the number of accidents, the Centre has decided to make air-conditioning mandatory in the driver’s cabin of trucks, Gadkari said.

“Making truck drivers’ cabins air-conditioned will be made mandatory as they drive up to 12 hours at a stretch at times,” he said.
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