International Road Federation (IRF), a global road safety body working for better roads worldwide has written to Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H), urging to make India a signatory to The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1968) to bring country our at par with the International road safety standards.
|Mr K K Kapila Chairman , IRF|
“The reason why it is important for India to become a signatory to ‘The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic’ as ‘’road safety’’ has emerged as the most important Public Health concern in the country with about 5,00,000 accidents and over 1,47,000 fatalities in road accidents every year. In addition to the lives lost, this also imposes a huge economic burden.” Said Mr. K. K. Kapila, Chairman ,International Road Federation (IRF) in his letter.
“The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1968) is an important Convention for governing traffic on roads. Becoming a signatory to this convention would facilitate government bodies and agencies in modifying and changing current rules and regulations to bring them in line with international standards, and thereby contribute to improving the road safety situation in India.” said Mr. Kapila.
“More over another reason IRF has urged Government of India to become a signatory to the Convention on Road Traffic is that by doing so, the Government of India will be able to introduce additions and suggestions to the Convention with a view to dealing with specific issues relevant for road safety in India, and more generally the developing world, thereby allowing the Government of India to lead by example and take intellectual leadership on the important topic of ‘’road safety’’. He added.
“One major change India can propose to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic is the addition of an Article on the use of Reflective tapes for conspicuity of bicycles. Currently, there is no article in the Convention which deals with this important issue. Cyclists and pedestrians are one of the most vulnerable segment of road users Globally and in particular in the developing world, pedestrians and cyclists together make up a quarter of road injury and death victims. During 2014, an estimated 4,023 cyclists were killed in road accidents in India. In Delhi the Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) constitute 84% of road fatalities, and cyclists were 4% in 2014. Many deaths pertaining to this class of road users are attributable to their poor visibility in traffic, particularly in dark hours.” Said Mr. K. K. Kapila,
“The commercial vehicle conspicuity standard of colour (RED, YELLOW and WHITE) for the rear, side and front respectively as per the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 has been adopted by India (which is also SIAM/international standard). But bicycle conspicuity standards are yet to be adopted in India as well in the Vienna convention” said Mr. Kapila.
“The WHO, in its recent Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, specifically identifies improving road safety for pedestrian and bicyclists as one of the areas deserving of additional attention - “Making walking and cycling safer is critical to reducing the number of road traffic deaths and is important for achieving the Decade of Action for Road Safety’s aim to promote non-motorized forms of transport.” He added.
For over sixty years, Geneva based IRF has been pursuing the mission of ‘’Safe Roads’’ across various countries where it is represented through its members. In keeping with the evolving market dynamics, the vision and mission of the organization has also evolved to an objective of ‘’Safe Roads and Safe Road Mobility’’. In India, IRF set up an exclusive India Chapter in 2009, which deals with the entire gamut of issues impacting ‘’Road Safety’’, ranging from Road Engineering, to educating the vulnerable road users to engineering of vehicles, etc. In this effort, the IRF has been actively engaging with various Ministries of the Government of India, Specialised Road Sector Agencies, Industry Chambers, Civil Society, as required from time to time.