Mana Telangana government plans to ban sale of liquor on highways

The Telangana government plans to ban sale of liquor on highways in the state to curb, which has drunk driving, which has been identified, along with speeding, as one of the primary reasons for road accidents. An analysis of road accidents over the past three years in the Telangana districts by the transport and police departments revealed that more than two-thirds of the acci dents, both fatal and non-fatal are a result of human error.

Each year, more than 20,000 road accidents are reported from the 16 nations and state highways in Telangana. Incidentally, unified AP was among the top five states with most road accidents in the country.

Each year, these accidents claim the lives of nearly 6,800 people and leave a whopping 23,000 people injured. While 78% of the accidents are due to faulty driving, the rest 22% of accidents are due to various other reasons. "The main causes of accidents on highways are drunk drivers. They drive much above the speed limits and without any rest, and generally do not follow traffic rules related to overtaking. Two wheeler riders do not wear helmets. In the rest of the cases, about 10% of the accidents are because of faul in road design and bad road conditions. The rest of the accidents occur due to vehicle fitness problems, poor light ing, among others," deputy transport commissioner C Ramesh told TOI. The national highways division of the roads and buildings (R&B) department has identified the top 10 accidentprone spots in the state. In the Greater Hyderabad region, Uppal crossroads, Kothapet crossroads near Chaitanyapuri and Miyapur Junction are the `black spots'.

Official sources said that a Supreme Court-appointed panel on road safety, headed by Justice KS Radhakrishnan, had recommended a ban on sale of alcohol on state and national highways and had also directed the state governments to strengthen the enforcement of laws agains drunk driving, overspeeding and other offences. The apex court had asked all states to conduct road safety council meetings by June this year and send the minutes of the meetings to the Centre.

Following these directions, Telangana transpor minister P Mahender Reddy held a meeting of the road safety council recently and discussed the policy to be adopted by the state. It has been decided to have a vehicle fitness centre in each revenue division of the state and to also set up professional driving training centres on the lines of the centre established in Sircilla. It was also decided to control overspeeding by setting up highway police stations and using IT services for road safety. The government also plans setting up of a road safety fund that would be used to provide facilities for drivers, such as rest rooms on the lines of Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat, along the highways and to spread road safety awareness. The minister directed officials to prepare a detailed note by the end of the first week of July on the measures needed to curb road accidents.