Road Safety Matters (RSM) can provide Road Safety Auditing services to the Road Design, Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Industries, in accordance with the requirements of the Industry Standards (NRA Road Safety Audit Guidelines HD 19/12).
Some of the frequently asked questions regarding Road Safety Auditing are as follows:
What is a Road Safety Audit?
Why do we need a Road Safety Audit?
Who is qualified to conduct a Road Safety Audit?
What type of scheme should be audited?
What are the different Audit Stages?
What is a Road Safety Audit?
Road Safety Audit (RSA) is defined as “The evaluation of road schemes (works that involve new road construction or temporary or permanent change to the existing road layout) during design and construction, before the scheme is opened to traffic, to identify potential safety hazards which may affect any type of road user and to suggest measures to eliminate or mitigate those problems”.
The primary purpose of a Road Safety Audit is to identify potential safety hazards within a scheme design that could affect road users, and formulate recommendations for mitigating these hazards. This enables the designer to address these issues as part of the design process, prior to the scheme opening to road users.
Road safety audits are often described as a first step leading to the implementation of a complete quality management system for roads. The RSAs are carried out on the road network throughout the various stages of design, planning and construction, and involve identification of potential road safety problems and recommending solutions to ensure that new schemes and any significant changes to the existing road network are as safe as possible for all road users.
Where Did the Idea of Road Safety Audit Start, and How?
Traffic engineers in UK developed the idea of Road Safety Audit as a safety check for new and improved road projects and schemes in the early 1980s.
The Road Safety Audit process in the UK started to gather momentum when safety engineers realized that they were carrying out accident remedial schemes on relatively new roads.
Common mistakes in carriageway layout, positioning and type of street furniture, poor signing and marking, inappropriate surfacing materials, lack of facilities for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists were being repeated over and over. There was no feedback from the safety facilitators to the highway designers and constructors in the same way as vehicle crash investigators fed their findings into the car design process. Safety audit was born.
Adopting the principle of ‘precaution is better than cure’, they decided to use some of the safety experience they had gained from the remedial work and design safety into new road schemes. The Institution of Highways and Transportation Guidelines on Accident Investigation and Prevention produced during that time emphasized on ‘safety checking’, as an accident prevention mechanism.
The widespread growth in the use of road safety audits has been helped by two facts namely, the concern with improving road safety and the application of quality assurance principles to road projects. The road safety audit is a snapshot in time that checks to see if the quality is being implemented.
Many countries have formulated comprehensive strategies to reduce crash toll, which in turn have identified safety audits as a part of overall strategic approach.
VEHICLE CRASHES: WE CAN STOP THEM:
We cannot act as mute spectators to daily Road Traffic fatalities, we have to wake up, learn new interventions based on research. Lack of public transport & bad roads is one cause.
The Audits are based on a formal systematic procedure that takes into account the factors that have been found to contribute to accidents in the past and the effects that different types of scheme have had on accident rates.
The Audit is not a technical check, i.e. the audit is not concerned with whether the design conforms to standards, and is not a chance to redesign a scheme.
Having identified any potential road safety risks on each design examined, taking all road users into consideration, particularly vulnerable users such as pedestrians and pedal cyclists, our Auditors then make recommendations on possible solutions to these risks.
The client then reviews the findings of the Road Safety Audit, deciding which recommendations to accept and implement within the scheme design and construction.
The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety – SCCoRS: The committee is deeply concerned about the growth in the number of road accidents, injuries, and fatalities in recent years. It recognizes that road accidents have now become a major public health issue, and the victims are mainly the poor and vulnerable road users.
The SCCoRS also recognises that as road accidents involve roads, motor vehicles, and also human beings, thus, road safety needs to be addressed on a holistic basis. It also recognizes that regardless of jurisdiction/s, the Central Government and State Governments have a joint responsibility in reducing the incidence of road accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
The SCCoRS attaches the highest importance to road safety and urges State Governments to strictly comply with the powers conferred upon them Under Section 215 sub-section (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Whereby, every State Government should constitute District Road Safety Committees for each district in their State to monitor and improve the standard of road safety.
Needless to mention that a long term, sustainable, and successful road safety policy can only be made with the support of grassroots level reporting and monitoring. Accordingly, the role of the District Road Safety Committees is vital in this endeavour.
To strengthen the road safety laws, Motor Vehicles Act has been amended and Good Samaritan Rules have been notified. In addition to various initiatives being taken by the various stakeholders, there is a dire need of strict compliance of the provisions under Section 215 sub-section (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
It has been observed that different states have the District Road Safety Committee. In order to comply with the provisions under Section 215 sub-section (3) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, and they should take every steps to reduce accidents
Mere macdamisation or construction of new roads without following IRC-Guidelines leads to more accidents. All districts in Jammu and Kashmir have Drafted Master Plans which reflects a detailed Transportation Plan. District Road Safety Committee should ensure its implementation to reduce all problems of Traffic Management like Congestion/Accidents/Road Rage/Pollution/Effective Land Use etc. Road Safety Audit Manual- IRC:SP:88-2010 can be used in implementation of Road safety Audit.
Er Mubashir Jan, ATC-JK-SRINAGAR
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.