Action required on war footing to reduce road accidents, says high court

Central and state governments and road safety authority should take action on war footing basis to reduce the number of traffic accidents, the Kerala High Court said.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly also asked the state government to take over lands agreed to be surrendered for widening of roads.

The court considered a batch of petitions seeking steps to ensure road safety and for a court directive to hand over funds raised by the government for this purpose to the road safety authority.

Stating that safe roads are part of a citizen’s rights, the court said central and state governments should take action to provide safe roads without fail. Pillars and similar structures that pose danger to road users should be removed and vehicles and solid waste dumped by the roads should be cleared, the court directed.

Branches of trees on lands adjacent to roads that extend to the road surface should be cut away, the court added.In its order, the court also directed the state government to issue notice and take appropriate action to take over lands whose owners are not willing to surrender their lands for widening of roads.

The court also called for a mechanism whereby repairs on road surfaces are completed in a joint manner so as to prevent repeated digging up of roads for repair works. Towards enhancing road safety, the court said strict action should be taken against those who do not obey rules and regulations.

Road safety authority should intervene to provide necessary help to accident victims, the court directed.