Punjab launches road safety month

In a concerted effort to enhance road safety and decrease mortality rates resulting from accidents, Punjab Transport Minister Laljit Singh Bhullar on Monday inaugurated the Road Safety Month. The month-long initiative, spanning from January 15 to February 14, 2024, is organized by the Punjab State Road Safety Council and aims to foster year-round commitment to road safety. Bhullar, addressing stakeholders, emphasized the importance of collective responsibility in curbing road accidents.

He stressed the need for ongoing efforts beyond the designated month, involving concerned departments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and commuters. Highlighting the positive outcomes of measures implemented by the state government, including the Sadak Surkhiya Force (SSF) and effective monitoring, Bhullar shared statistics from the Annual Report on Punjab Road Crashes and Traffic-2022, which indicated a 0.24 per cent decrease in road accident fatalities in 2022 compared to the previous year, even as the nation witnessed a 9.4 per cent increase in road fatalities. Punjab, bucking the national trend, recorded 4,578 road accident fatalities in 2022, with over-speeding and animal-related incidents identified as leading causes.

Over-speeding contributed to 2085 deaths, while animal involvement accounted for 421 fatalities during the same period. Expressing concern over the economic impact of road accidents, Bhullar revealed that every fifth patient in hospitals is a road accident victim, causing an annual loss of about Rs 21,000 crores, or approximately three per cent of the state’s GDP. The Road Safety month will witness various activities, including cycle or two-wheeler rallies, awareness campaigns on seat belts and helmets, special drives against red light violations, over-speeding, and drunk driving.

Departments such as School Education, Higher Education, and Technical Education will organize walkathons, poster making, quiz competitions, exhibitions, and lectures on road safety by NGOs and experts.