New Delhi: A bill to facilitate setting up of an independent body to put in place safety provisions for national highways and improved safety standards in road designs was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board Bill was introduced by surface transport minister Kamal Nath.
The board will be set up for the purpose of orderly development, regulation, promotion and optimization of modern and effective road safety and traffic management system, the minister said.
It will also seek to introduce improved safety standards in highway design, construction, operation and regulate high standards in production and maintenance of mechanically propelled vehicles, he said.
The decision is crucial considering the increasing number of deaths on highways, which already accounts for most road fatalities in the world.
The minister noted the number of deaths in road accidents has increased to 114,000 in 2007 from 84,674 deaths in 2002.
The Bill also envisages creation of National Road Safety and Traffic Management Fund or meeting the expenses of the board by levying 1% of cess on petrol and diesel.
The proposed national road safety and traffic management board will be responsible for prescribing steps to uplift safety standards in the design, construction and maintenance of highways, besides suggesting safety measures for motor vehicles.
The board will have the authority to conduct regular safety audits of national highways and establish proper procedure for collection, transmission and analysis of road accident data.
It will also advise the Centre on administering the road safety laws.
The bill has provisions of slapping a penalty of Rs1 million for failing to maintain standards by the builder while constructing national highways as recommended by the board.