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'Pedestrians, cyclists suffer most in road accidents'

Delhi,Crime/Disaster/Accident, Tue, 03 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) The most vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and bicyclists were the most severely hit in road accidents, accounting for more than 40 percent of the fatalities, said union Road Transport and Highways Minister C.P. Joshi Tuesday.




"Our planning system has led to increase in number of incidents since our planning focuses on facilitating motorised traffic, instead of the pedestrians and other non-motorised road users," he added, claiming that huge behavioural changes were needed, while planning roads and highways.


Joshi was speaking at a workshop organised in Delhi by his ministry.


He said that the amendments proposed to the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 were primarily aimed at "mitigating the plight of the most vulnerable road users such as pedestrians".


"In the amendments we have proposed severe penalties for drunken driving, over-speeding and repeated offenses," Joshi said.


According to the minister, the amendments also have provision for grading of penalties on basis of the severity of the offense.


However, he also added that the urban planning was focused on the vehicles, not the pedestrians.


"I won't call it a big step, but it is a step in positive direction," Joshi told IANS.


Road Transport and Highways Secretary A.K. Upadhyay said that "in developed countries, the most vulnerable road users get the maximum priority while in India, the motorists believe they have the maximum priority."


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