New Delhi: Cataract is a bigger reason than alcohol for rising number of road accidents, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
"Cataract is a bigger problem than alcohol in causing road accidents. In Maharashtra, 45 per cent of government drivers suffer from this, but they get fake certificates from government hospitals," the Road Transport Minister said in a road safety conference here.
Shoddy engineering and poor planning are the two other main causes, he added.
"Engineering is a very important aspect of road construction, there are so many mistakes in the DPRs (Detailed Project Reports), building defective roads is a major cause of accidents," he said.
He said there is a need to study road and traffic engineering and prepare a better DPRs.
Annually, at least 1.40 lakh people get killed in road accidents in the country, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of the total road fatalities across the world.
According to an official release, Gadkari lamented that every year 138,000 people are killed in road accidents, the total social cost of which is estimated to be around Rs 1 lakh crore.
Moreover, 63 per cent of the road crash deaths occur on National and State Highways, the release quoted him as saying. The biggest problem faced in urban areas in addition to road safety is unprecedented growth of vehicles leading to traffic congestion and increasing road traffic violations, he added.
Earlier this month, Gadkari in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had said that in 2012 about 1.38 lakh people were killed in around 5 lakh road accidents reported, resulting in economic losses to the tune of 2-3 per cent of the GDP, apart from the social trauma.