With around 5,000 road accident deaths annually, Eastern Indian state of West Bengal is among 13 states in the country recording maximum number of road mishaps, according to statistics of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The number of persons killed per 100 accidents is at 51.4 per cent in the state, which is the fourth highest in the country, the 2014 statistics suggested.
"In West Bengal goods and commercial vehicles contribute around 45-50 per cent to the road accidents.
Over speeding by commercial vehicles has played a major role in such accidental deaths in West Bengal," member of the National Road Safety Council under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways Kamal Soi said here on Thursday.
He said that the fatality rate in West Bengal stood at 52 per cent compared to around 13 per cent nationally.
The Supreme Court has made it mandatory to install speed governors in all commercial vehicles.
From October 1, 2015 all new transport vehicles trucks, buses, dumpers and mini buses - will need to install speed governors to limit their speed to 80 kmph.
The existing vehicles will need to install these speed limit devices by April 1 next, a move aimed at taming the speed demons on Indian roads. Incidentally, as per a recent notification of the ministry, the speed limiting devices in school buses, dumpers and vehicles carrying hazardous goods would fix the speed at a maximum of 60 kmph.
States like Tamil Nadu, Telengana, Jharkhand are in the process of installing it, but in West Bengal "it's yet to be done." "There are around five lakh commercial vehicles in West Bengal. I know there is unionism, political intervention in certain things in West Bengal, but if it were installed here then there would be a cut of at least 20 to 25 per cent of road accidents," Soi stated. The National Road Safety Council member was in the city for meetings with Principal Secretary (transport) Alapan Bandyopadhyay and other stakeholders in connection with the implementation of the speed governors.
“It was a very fruitful meeting... There were the stakeholders, the Transport secretary and all the confusions regarding the pricing of the speed governors and all other issues were clarified in the meeting.. The government will take it very seriously,” Soi said. He further added that India annually loses around Rs 1,70,000 crore to road accidents. “If speed governors are installed, I think in five years’ time the accident rate will be cut down to half,” Soi stated adding that 65 per cent of these accidents are caused by illiterates.