The Supreme Court of India on 30 November 2017 issued a string of directions on road safety and asked all the states and Union Territories to set up a trauma centre in each district of the country and make safety norms a part of the school curriculum.
The decision was taken by a bench headed by Justice M B Lokur. The bench also asked the states, which have not yet formed the Road Safety Policy, to form it latest by 31 January 2018 and implement it with all due earnestness and seriousness.
Further, the court directed that road safety education and counseling should be made a part of school curriculum by the all the state board by 1 April 2018 and at least one trauma care centre should be set up in every district with an ambulance.
The bench stated that the state governments and Union territories should take up the recommendations at the earliest since it is on record that treatment soon after a road accident is crucial for saving the life of the victim
The apex court’s direction came after hearing a petition filed by S Rajaseekaran, Chairman and Head of Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore.
The petition had sought enforcement of road safety norms and appropriate treatment of accident victims.
The apex court had on 22 April 2014 constituted a committee on road safety headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice K S Radhakrishnan, which has so far submitted 12 reports.
Key Directions of the court
• The apex court ordered the states and UTs to constitute Road Safety Councils by 31 January 2018 for periodic review of the laws and take remedial steps if needed.
• It also directed the states to establish a road safety fund by 31 March 2018 and to conduct an audit of road safety to reduce the possibility of road accidents through corrective measures.
• It also directed strict implementation of the recommendations of the Bureau of Police Research and Training Report including acquisition of cameras and surveillance equipments in detecting traffic and identifying violators.
• The court also laid emphasis on setting up of special patrol forces along the national and state highways.
• The court also directed the MoRTH ministry to publish a protocol for identification and rectification of black spots and take necessary steps for improving the road design to make them safer.
• The bench also called for strict implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017 issued by the MoRTH on 23 June 2017.
• The court also stated that due publicity must be given to the Universal Accident Helpline number - 108- provided by the National Health Mission so that an ambulance can be activated at the earliest whenever necessary.