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Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Deepak GuptaSupreme Court passed order to implement road safety measures recommended by committee

30th November, 2017

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta has passed order with direction of road safety measures to be followed in different states of India and strict punishment for the violation of road safety rules.


Dr. S. Rajaseekaran, an orthopedic surgeon, a public spirited person and President of Indian Orthopedic Association has filed petition under Article 32 of the Constitution praying for enforcement of road safety norms and appropriate treatment of accident victims. The petitioner informed the court that his capacity as Chairman and Head of Department of orthopedic Surgery, Coimbatore, he witnesses daily, acute loss of life and limbs caused by road accidents. He suggested to the court the practical measures to be taken in time bound and expeditious manner to give effect of legislations, reports and recommendations for ensuring that the loss of lived due to road accidents to be minimised.

The Court passed an order on 22nd April, 2014 constituting a Committee on Road Safety under the Chairmanship of Justice K. S. Radhakrishnan, a former judge of this Court. The Committee was notified by the Ministryof Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) of the Government of India on 30th May, 2014 and orders finalizing the terms and conditions of appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the Committee were issued on 8th August, 2014. The Committee has since submitted 12 reports to this Court but it is not necessary at present to deal with all these reports.

On 10th April, 2015 the court recognized the exemplary work being done by the Committee and expressed the view that its recommendations need to be seriously discussed and debated. This was in the context of the fact that the number of deaths due to road accidents in the country was said to be over 100,000 in a year, which translates to about one death every three minutes and that the compensation awarded for deaths and other motor accident claims runs into hundreds of crores of rupees.


The court considered the suggestions made by the Amicus Curiae as well as learned Additional Solicitor General and the response of the MoRTH to these suggestions. After considering the submissions, and keeping in mind issues of road safety and the interest of those who may be unfortunate victims of road accidents, the court issued the following directions:

1. Road Safety Policy

Most of the State Governments and Union Territories have already framed a Road Safety Policy. Those that have not framed such a policy namely Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Delhi, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, must now formulate the Road Safety Policy by 31st January, 2018. All States and Union Territories are expected to implement the Road Safety Policy with all due earnestness and seriousness.

2. State Road Safety Council

All States have already constituted a Road Safety Council in terms of Section 215 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra andNagar Haveli and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have not constituted the Road Safety Council as yet. We direct these Union Territories to constitute the State Road Safety Council on or before 31st January, 2018. The responsibility and functions of the Council will be as recommended by the Committee on Road Safety. The State Road Safety Councils should periodically review the laws and take appropriate remedial steps wherever necessary.

3. Lead Agency

Only a few States have established the Lead Agency as recommended by the Committee on Road Safety in its communication of 23rd December, 2014. The States and Union Territories that have not done so should establish the Lead Agency on or before 31st January, 2018 in terms of the recommendations made by the committee on Road Safety. It may be mentioned that the Lead Agency will act as the Secretariat of the State Road Safety Council and coordinate all activities such as licensing issues including issues of driving licences, registration of vehicles, road safety and features of vehicles, along with other allied matters including emission norms and other activities as mentioned in the communication dated 23rd December, 2014.

4. Road Safety Fund

Some of the States have already established a Road Safety Fund. Those States and Union Territories that have not yet established the Road Safety Fund should do so not later than 31st March, 2018 and report back to the Committee on Road Safety. The corpus of the Road Safety Fund will be from the fines collected for traffic violations and the Fund will be utilized for meeting expenses relating to road safety.

5. Road Safety Action Plan

The purpose of a Road Safety Action Plan is to reduce the number of road accidents, as well as the fatality rate. The MoRTH has already requested all the States and Union Territories to prepare a Road Safety Action Plan but it appears that the response to this has been somewhat lukewarm. The State Governments and Union Territories are therefore directed to urgently prepare a Road Safety Action Plan by 31st March, 2018 and put it into action after giving it due publicity.

6. District Road Safety Committee

A District Road Safety Committee is required to be set up by the State Government for every district in terms of Section 215(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. As suggested by the learned Amicus and agreed to by the MoRTH, the District Road Safety Committee should be put in place by 31st January, 2018 and should be headed by the Collector of the District and should include amongst others the Superintendent of Police, Health Officers, Engineers of the Public Works Department, representatives of the National Highways Authority of India, the Road Transport Officer of the District and members of civil society from the District. The District Road Safety Committee must hold regular and periodic meetings to review road safety issues and take corrective measures.

7. Engineering Improvement

It appears that one of the main reasons for road accidents is the poor quality of roads, improper design, etc. The MoRTH is of the opinion that the protocol for road design and identification of black spots needs to be reviewed and enforced. Accordingly, it is directed that the MoRTH should publish a protocol for identification and rectification of black spots and take necessary steps for improving the design of roads to make them safe.

8. Traffic Calming Measures

It is suggested by the learned Amicus that traffic calming measures must be adopted at accident prone areas. This is agreed to by the MoRTH. However, such measures will need to be studied and then put in place. This is an on-going exercise which must be carried out by the Road Safety Committee with the assistance of the MoRTH and other stakeholders.

9. Road Safety Audits

There is agreement, in principle, between the learned Amicus and the MoRTH to carry out Road Safety Audits. However, there appears to be a dearth of qualified auditors in Road Safety Engineering. The MoRTH supports the idea of capacity building. It is, therefore, directed that necessary steps be taken by the Committee on Road Safety as well as by the MoRTH to work in this direction since there can be little doubt that an audit of road safety is essential to reduce the possibility of road accidents through corrective measures.

10. Engineering Design of New Roads

The MoRTH is of the view, and the learned Amicus is also in agreement, that the Road Safety Audit as mentioned above should include the design stage audit of new road projects of 5 kms or more, rather than being based on the cost of the project. It is ordered accordingly.

11. Working Group on Engineering

The Working Group on Engineering (Roads) has already submitted a Report which is available with the Road Safety Committee as well as the MoRTH. This Working Group was constituted pursuant to the decision taken in the meeting of the 12th National Road Safety Council held on 25th March, 2011. The recommendations of the Working Group should be implemented in the terms prayed for by the learned Amicus as well as those accepted by the MoRTH. These will, of course, be in the nature of interim directions since the National Road Safety Board is likely to be created as proposed in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

12. Drivers' Training

This is the subject matter of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and no orders are required to be passed in this regard.

13. Lane Driving

The MoRTH has already issued Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017 vide G.S.R. 634 (E) dated 23rd June, 2017. The Notification should be implemented by the State Governments and Union Territories strictly.

14. Road Safety Equipment

The Bureau of Police Research and Training has already prepared a Report on the subject and has submitted it to the Road Safety Committee in September, 2015. The recommendations in the Report should be implemented including acquisition of cameras and surveillance equipments in detecting traffic and identifying violators. It is also necessary to set up special patrol forces along the National Highways and State Highways for which necessary steps must be taken by the State Governments and Union Territories.

15. Alcohol and Road Safety

The MoRTH has already written to the States to comply with orders of this Court in this regard. The MoRTH may issue further advisories in this regard on a quarterly basis during the calendar year 2018 so as to serve as a reminder to the State Governments and Union Territories to implement the directions of this Court.

16. Road Safety Education

The learned Amicus as well as MoRTH are in agreement that road safety education and counseling should be incorporated in the curriculum by the State Boards by 1st April, 2018. It is directed that the State Governments may seriously consider this recommendation and include Road Safety Education and Counseling as a part of the school curriculum at the earliest.

17. Speed Governors

Guidelines in this regard have already been issued by the MoRTH. The MoRTH has agreed to upload the Unique Identification Number of the speed governors in the VAHAN database. This should be followed up by the MoRTH with expedition.

18. Emergency Medical Care

There is agreement that at least one Trauma Care Centre should be set up in every district with necessary facilities and an ambulance. The State Governments and Union Territories should take up this recommendation at the earliest since it is on record that treatment soon after a road accident is crucial for saving the life of the victim. In this context, it may also be mentioned that this Court has issued certain directions in Pt. Parmanand Katara v. Union of India, which should be followed.


19. Universal Accident Helpline Number

The MoRTH has stated that there is already a call centre number, that is, 108 provided by the National Health Mission. Due publicity must be given to this so that an ambulance can be activated at the earliest whenever necessary.

20. Permanent Road Safety Cell

All State Governments and Union Territories have already been requested by the MoRTH to set up Road Safety Cells. The State Governments and Union Territories should establish Permanent Road Safety Cells by 31st January, 2018.

21. Data Collection

The MoRTH has already taken steps for recording accident data and reports through computerised data entry. The State and Union Territories have been asked to take further action in this regard and make the data public for the information of all stakeholders. This needs to be followed up and no further orders are necessary in this regard.


22. GPS

The MoRTH has already notified vide G.S.R. No. 1095 (E) dated 28th November, 2016 mandating the fitment of vehicle location tracking devices in all public service vehicles subject to some exceptions. Since this has cost implications, the MoRTH may assist the State Governments and Union Territories to ensure that to the maximum extent possible and within the shortest time frame, location tracking devices must be fitted in all public service vehicles as notified.

23. Bus/Truck–Body Building Code

This has already been notified by the MoRTH with regard to buses vide G.S.R. No. 287 (E) dated 27th April, 2014 and with regard to trucks vide G.S.R. No. 1034(E) dated 2nd November, 2016. No further orders are necessary in this regard.

24. ABS, Air Bags and Headlights

The MoRTH has already notified for fitment of ABS in motor cycles vide G.S.R. No. 310(E) dated 16th March, 2016 and for four wheelers vide G.S.R. No. 120(E) dated 10th February, 2017. As far as air bags are concerned a standard AIS-145 has already been notified. As regards automated headlights, the MoRTH has notified vide G.S.R. No. 188(E) dated 22nd February, 2016 for fitment of "Automated Headlights On" in two wheelers manufactured on or after 1st April, 2017. No further orders are required in this regard except the faithful implementation of the various notifications issued by the MoRTH.

25. Crash Test

This too has been notified by the MoRTH and the test for all light motor vehicles is required to be conducted by the testing agency notified under Rule 126 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. No further orders are required in this regard except the faithful implementation of the notifications and crash standards issued by the MoRTH.

The matter is listed for further hearing on 7th February 2018




Read the Order of Supreme Court dated 30.11.2017



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