Be it Highways or the arterial roads in urban areas, major road accidents have become a daily feature claiming scores of lives in Andhra Pradesh, according to the State Crime Records Bureau.
That more than 120 people were killed in separate road accidents in the State since the beginning of this month alone speaks about the gravity of the situation.
Andhra Pradesh had one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the country with 43,108 people losing their lives in 1,35,713 accidents in the last three years.
According to the statistics compiled by the State Crime Records Bureau, 14,792 people were killed and 59,506 injured in 44,164 road accidents in the state last year.
The fatalities went up from 2008 which witnessed 14,529 deaths and 64,526 injuries in 46,389 accidents. In 2007, 13,787 people were killed and 63,070 injured in 45,160 accidents.
Till March 31st this year alone the figure for road deaths was 3,714, while 14,397 got injured in 10,856 road accidents.
On an average 40 people died every day in road accidents on the state highways and district roads during the last three year period, but the first three-month figures on road fatalities this year show an increase as on an average 41 people died in road mishaps.
Andhra Pradesh has a Road Safety Authority, but only on paper. An Indian Police Service officer of no less than the director general of Police rank is normally posted as chairman of this Authority but without any "authority" as such, a
DG-rank officer who once served in this post observed.
In fact, this is treated as a 'punishment posting' for a top-ranking IPS officer, who is not in sync with the powers that be, the officer said.
"The post is meant only to enable the outcast officer to draw his salary. He doesn't even have a peon, so forget about
any authority," the officer said.
With the retirement of IPS officer AK Mohanty as chairman on March 31 this year, the Road Safety Authority now remains "abandoned", the officer added.
Autorickshaws are banned on National Highways, but the rule is implemented only in breach. Not less than 30 people, travelling by autorickshaws, lost their lives in grisly accidents on the NH-9 in Nalgonda district in the last couple
of months, police records say.
Nalgonda district police imposed a ban on autos plying on the NH but the ban remained only on paper because of "political pressure", a senior police officer said.
Transport Department authorities attribute the accidents to "rash and negligent" driving. "In 80 per cent of cases, it
is the drivers' fault that has caused the accident. Given the advanced technologies of vehicles today only two per cent of
the accidents are due to defects in the motor vehicles," a top transport official said.
It was during a review meeting on road safety on September 24 last that the Chief Minister directed the authorities concerned to draw an action plan to check road accidents and prevent loss of lives.
The same was reiterated at a similar meeting on December 27 last but till date nothing has happened.
The state government is now talking about reconstituting the Road Safety Council with the chief minister as chairman.
The government has also decided to establish the AP Road Safety Authority, through legislation, equipping it with "all