NEW DELHI: At least one road safety audit will be mandatory at the design stage for 5 km or more of a highway stretch for capacity augmentation, the government has said.
This is particularly significant as India accounts for 5 lakh road accidents annually in which 1.5 lakh people die and another 3 lakh are crippled for life. The loss due to this is equivalent to 3 per cent of GDP.
"At least one road safety audit is to be mandatorily carried out preferably at the design stage (DPR stage) for all capacity augmentation projects of 5-km length or more," the Road Transport and Highways Ministry said in a statement. For capacity augmentation of 50 km or more, there should be one audit at the detailed project report (DPR) stage and one at the pre-opening stage, it said in the guidelines for the audit.
While for expressways, a four-stage audit will be necessary, multiple ones will be done for complex projects. Last week, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Sanjay Mitra had said the ministry is targeting 3,000 km to be covered under safety audit this year.
"We are also planning to engage state governments to undertake safety audits of state highways and district roads," Mr Mitra said.
The road safety audit involves evaluating highway improvement scheme during design at the end of construction and post construction to identify road safety problems and suggest measures to eliminate or mitigate any concerns.
These audits are undertaken by teams of specialists trained in road safety engineering. Strategic road schemes and the majority of new works are required to have an independent road safety audit to take corrective measures to reduce accidents.
Safer roads and mobility are one of the five pillars of the UN Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.