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Old 10th September 2021, 16:09   #1
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Default Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

The National Road Safety Board has been formalised to advise the government in the formulation of policies related to road safety. The creation of a road safety board had been part of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019.

The National Road Safety Board will be constituted of a panel of seven members and a Chairman, with the members having experience in the fields related to road safety, traffic regulation, urban planning, civil engineering and police enforcement and investigation. Additionally, the board will also comprise of technical committees to look into a variety of aspects of road safety from civil engineering to vehicle construction and safety equipment. The board will also have officials from the road transport ministry and state governments who will be the ex-officio members.

It can also provide technical advice and assistance to the central and state governments and local authorities on administration of road safety and traffic management. The board can also specify guidelines for establishing and operating trauma facilities and paramedical facilities for dealing with traffic related injuries on roads.


The need for such a nodal agency was spoken about widely by road safety experts and bureaucrats from the Transport Ministry, ever since 2005. Hope this doesn't turn out to be another damp squib and is given appropriate authority and powers. Such boards/committees usually become post-retirement havens for bureaucrats and judges; hope this one is stacked with actual experts! Welcome initiative by the government no doubt.
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Old 10th September 2021, 22:08   #2
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Default re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

If the government were inclined to listen to "actual experts", they would long ago have implemented
- BNVSAP, where any car less than 4 stars won't be permitted to be sold
- proper methodology for driver training & licensing
- crash analysis programmes
- standardized road marking & signalling regulations
- strong enforcement of HGV overloading and underrun protection bar rules
- widespread presence of automated speed cameras on all highways instead of silly speed beepers (and musical horns) in all cars.

The "actual experts" are all bald already, having uprooted every single strand of hair on their heads in sheer frustration at the direction road safety is taking in this country.
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Old 11th September 2021, 08:00   #3
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Default Re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamNikhil View Post
the board will also comprise technical committees to look into a variety of aspects of road safety from civil engineering to vehicle construction and safety equipment
I will take such announcements with a pinch of salt. The culture of safety is lacking, and will probably remain so. Let's look at aspects one by one

1. Civil engineering - I don't think there is a single NH in the country that boasts of fool proof designs and construction. To cite a few examples of current engineering, we have

- intersections built just around curves
- Accident Prone Zones marked in red
- highways that almost invariably have water logging at many places in the extreme right and extreme left lanes causing blinding of windscreens of oncoming vehicles because of water that is splashed from the opposite lanes
- signage at some places installed in ant sized font

Intersection just around curve - sample1
Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India-intersection-curve_1.jpg

Intersection just around curve - sample2
Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India-intersection-curve_2.jpg

Windscreen blinded by splashed water - sample
Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India-windscreenblinded_watersplash.jpg

I don't think fool proof civil engineering is in India's blood. I shudder at the sight of traffic hold ups with heavy vehicles on the various bridges and flyovers wondering if such bridges have been adequately designed, or are an end result of sub standard construction.

2. Vehicle construction and safety equipment - while it is laudable that safety equipment is gradually going up in cars, the construction of vehicles is moving from solid to wafer thin. We either have strong unreliable cars or "safe" tin cans.

Safety culture in India is still in infancy, and it might never reach even adolescence, leave alone maturity. We needed a danda to force us to buckle up, several years after seat belts were introduced in cars.

The culture is to defeat every feature and feel macho about it - the seat belt warning light by shoving the seat belt into the buckle, and sitting on top of the seat belt than strap it over one's torso. Some seat covers are installed such that rear seat belts buckles disappear under cover.

Seat belt not worn by a driver - sample
Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India-scania_seatbeltnotworn.jpg

On lane discipline, the lesser said the better. Slow moving trucks occupy the so-called fast lanes while other vehicles weave in and out like in a video game.

Trucks in the fast lane
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The underrun protection bars are still not there on most CVs, and we still see rickety trucks or the ones like the Leaning Tower of Pisa on our roads.

Truck ready to lift off when trying to move on a ghat road- sample
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Truck tilting dangerously to the right - sample
Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India-tiltingtruck_sample.jpg

I haven't seen a single Volvo or Scania (supposedly the safest CVs) that has zero errors on the dashboard, or any commercial vehicle driver that puts the seat belt on.

Error on a Volvo console - sample
Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India-volvodash_error1.jpg

Nothing significant can be achieved through committees where attendees' primary agenda is to munch on chips, biscuits, and consume customized beverages (have seen enough of them in my professional life even in result oriented organizations and not one of these committees has achieved anything significant). End of the day, results are because of the clear thoughts and actions of a few individuals.

The culture of safety must change, and I don't see that happening in this region .

Last edited by vigsom : 12th September 2021 at 17:05. Reason: added some text
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Old 11th September 2021, 16:18   #4
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Default re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

There was a famous, lengthy Supreme Court judgment in Dr S. Rajseekaran versus Union of India (2014) that solely dwelled on traffic safety in India. The petitioner is an orthopaedic surgeon and was much concerned for the loss of human lives in India due to road accidents . Based on the reasoned judgment that took cognisance of all assertions raised in the matter, the prayers were all incorporated by the learned Division Bench. As recommended in the judgment, a Road Safety Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Retd Justice K. S. Radhakrishnan.

Based on the recommendations in the part reports that are being released by this Committee, the government is taking quite many measures and most of the measures in new vehicles like speed governors in commercial vehicles, BVSAP safety ratings for cars and many more are being implemented.

Lets hope that the new road safety board recommendations are seriously looked into and not brushed aside like any other Committee.

As the old adage goes "if any problem is serious, forming a committee is the best way out to resolve the problem. And usually the Committee ultimately becomes much more important than the problems ."

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 11th September 2021 at 16:22.
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Old 12th September 2021, 12:10   #5
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Default re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
- BNVSAP, where any car less than 4 stars won't be permitted to be sold
Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. An NCAP will be an NCAP whether it is an NGO or government-backed. NCAPs historically have been consumer information programs. At best they can make recommendations for the withdrawal of some dangerously unsafe cars (Nissan NP300, Datsun GO, Nissan Tsuru) or sometimes the sales figures speak for themselves (like the Rover 100 in Europe) but they have no regulatory role, although they often catalyse implementation of regulation in poorly regulated markets, for example, as of today (since 2019, I believe, but I may be wrong), every new car sold has to pass the regulatory safety tests (for type-approval) for 56km/h offset frontal impact (read after Page 39), side impact (read after Page 13) and pedestrian protection (read after page 11). These are based on but not identical to UN R94, R95 and GTR9 respectively. There is a lot of scope for improvement of federal standards, but I don't think we'll ever have a 'minimum star rating' for a car to be sold since that defeats the purpose of a star rating. If the federal standards are raised, the relevant NCAP in the region will simply upgrade its protocol with more stringent capping limits so that it remains above regulatory requirements.

Last edited by ron178 : 12th September 2021 at 12:34.
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Old 12th September 2021, 13:11   #6
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Default re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
If the government were inclined to listen to "actual experts", they would long ago have implemented
- BNVSAP, where any car less than 4 stars won't be permitted to be sold
- proper methodology for driver training & licensing
- crash analysis programmes
- standardized road marking & signalling regulations
- strong enforcement of HGV overloading and underrun protection bar rules
- widespread presence of automated speed cameras on all highways instead of silly speed beepers (and musical horns) in all cars.

The "actual experts" are all bald already, having uprooted every single strand of hair on their heads in sheer frustration at the direction road safety is taking in this country.
In addition, a properly trained Highway Patrol force is badly needed.
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Old 14th September 2021, 10:35   #7
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Default Re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

While any good change in policy is always welcome and i do believe slowly and steadily things change for the better and they will surely get better one day but the ground reality paints a very grim picture, i just came back from a trip to Himachal and took the western peripheral road on my trip back to Gurgaon, this is a so called smart highway which proudly places 120 km/h speed limits on cars all across and as far as i know was claimed to be one of its kind in India, but while coming on this highway my experience was the worst of all the highways i covered so far in the trip from Himachal to Gurgaon.

The main highlights are :-
1-No Streetlights at all - Yes, i think this should close the case as such a level of highway had absolutely zero lights in the night and i was very worried all the time that if i have to stop for a puncture even, how will i manage it in middle of the night, this was despite paying ₹145 as toll for the road and somewhat tauntingly just the toll plaza had lights, rest the entire stretch was dark.

2- Zero security arrangements - There was absolutely nothing stopping criminals to do whatever they want in the middle of the highway if they choose to, there was no security staff, no patroling vehicles absolutely no establishments of any kinds (eateries, petrol pumps or anything) in the entire stretch thus re enforcing my fear.

3-Accidents are bound to happen and they happened - While driving on this highway in high beam, because all the vehicles on opposite side used it and that made it absolutely impossible to drive, combined with no street lights, i was driving extremely cautiously and was on my toes all the time and never exceeded 80km/h (imagine a bhpian going so much slower than speed limits), my car has proper xenon projector headlamps (55w) and Xenon fog lamps but despite that and relatively low speed, i only faintly could make out something 100-200m ahead of me, it was so vague and undefined that it could very well be my imagination or maybe a dust spot on my windshield but lo and behold there were 5-7 cows sitting in the middle of the road which i very narrowly missed, but then going further there were 3 of them dead on one side of the road followed by 4-5 cows alive again on left side of the road and then followed by 3-4 cows again dead and blood all over on left side of the road, it was a massacre of expressway proportions, i just thanked my stars to have missed it narrowly and felt really sorry for the creatures who had to die such a death just because of outright failure of authorities to provide even basic amenities on a claimed world class, flagship toll road. I can only imagine what other roads in India would be like because after this i came to the old and trusted and very busy NH8 (now renamed to NH48 i guess) and things weren't much better, again there were zero lights on such an highway which made me wonder, is this a norm? I hardly make long highway trips but even if i do i absolutely avoid night trips but because of some unavoidable factors i had to take this one, somehow ironically when this highway reaches Gurgaon, you get proper lighting and the stretch is bright as day there, is safety of zero importance elsewhere? Are cars supposed to break only after entering Gurgaon to expect some kind of basic security arrangement namely street lights?

There are so many other factors like trucks and cars coming on wrong sides, road having such imperfections that the car literally jumps on most of the joints, how can one do 120km/h there is just beyond me.

Anyways i take this opportunity to warn bhpians to totally avoid the Western Peripheral Road at night, it is only a great idea on paper, don't risk your life.
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Old 15th September 2021, 06:42   #8
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Default Re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

This elongated description of the committee makes me skeptical.

I wish they review all aspects of road safety and implement changes. They should measure success with the right metrics and have a "Zero death" vision.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
If the government were inclined to listen to "actual experts", they would long ago have implemented
- BNVSAP, where any car less than 4 stars won't be permitted to be sold
- proper methodology for driver training & licensing
Enforcing a minimum of 4* rating is a little authoritarian, IMHO. But yes, people should be given advantages (like lower insurance premiums) for safer cars.

Your second point is more critical. Overall road safety will be boosted by having well-trained drivers in unsafe cars (not that I endorse them) rather than have wild overconfident baboons behind the wheel of safe cars.
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Old 15th September 2021, 11:46   #9
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Default Re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

Ultimately, the effectiveness of the board will depend solely on the level of experts onboarded and the willingness of the government to actually enforce the suggestions.

Otherwise, this will devolve into yet another cosmetic exercise.
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Old 15th September 2021, 12:29   #10
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Default Re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamNikhil View Post
Otherwise, this will devolve into yet another cosmetic exercise.
Not only the Govt, the role of the public is also very important. In ECR (East Coast Road, TN), the govt installed public SOS booths (neatly painted structures) with high-quality telephones. After few months, all were plundered by the local people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketscience View Post
1-No Streetlights at all
This is not practically possible on all the highways, instead frequent patrolling should be done.
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Old 15th September 2021, 13:44   #11
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Default Re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGK View Post
Not only the Govt, the role of the public is also very important. In ECR (East Coast Road, TN), the govt installed public SOS booths (neatly painted structures) with high-quality telephones. After few months, all were plundered by the local people.
My god, that's terrible. We hear about such ridiculous public acts from across the country. Appalling! Agree with you 100% that a lot of the onus on road safety and civic sense lies importantly with the public.
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Old 15th September 2021, 15:44   #12
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Default Re: Govt notifies the constitution of the National Road Safety Board in India

Here is my take on this and how we can at least prepare the next generation for better road safety and awareness.

1. Institute mandatory road safety classes and programs at school level right from the childhood so students are taught the importance and practical behaviour when it comes to road manners, conducting oneself safely when being on the road (whether on foot or in vehicle), traffic rules etc. The issue needs to be addressed at grassroots levels and this is one of those ways which can work to a larger extent. India is a young nation and we need to coach the youth.

2. Driving lessons should again be made part of college programs where students (18+) can take part and learn to become a better driver. Nothing like using 3-4 years of a college time for learning driving skills and being able to use it in real world. I am sure the local Govts can aid this. I am talking about new age lessons involving learning in a simulator, test tracks and then in real world conditions. Every bit of traffic rules needs to be taught and mandatory tests to be conducted with grades mattering in their final aggregate marks.

3. Some sort of a routine road fitness test for existing license holders so as to check if they are still worthy of driving their vehicles. This could be a far cry but in India a one time license is like a license to kill to people on the road and that needs to be validated (say every year or so) to keep bad drivers away from the roads.

4. Reward good driving manners - we are talking about rewarding people who don't have any black marks in their records. Some sort of a credit card like redemption points that get accrued that people can use in some form.

5. Tough rules for bad driving like in European countries. Make it points based. Once you cross a certain threshold, thats it. You lose the license and cannot be behind the wheel ever again.

6. New age tech, AI to monitor traffic flow, spot bad drivers, offenders etc. We are afterall living in the age of Machine learning and AI and there are enough startups these days who can easily solve these issues without too much of a physical police intervention.

7. Make highway patrol strange, increase fleet at busier routes and give them more powers like the cops in the west. The moment the siren goes on behind you, you know you are in trouble and need to pull over!
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