NCRS to get more teeth as a commission

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

In the face of the rapidly increasing number of road accidents, the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) has taken steps to repeal the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Act No. 05 of 1998 and convert it into a Commission to become a more powerful authority by next year, NCRS, Chairman, Gamini Ekanayake said yesterday.

He told The Island that currently the NCRS act as a coordinating secretariat and it did not have implementation powers therefore it couldn’t take actions to reduce road accidents.

"The only thing it can do is to advise the ministries and other authorities as well as coordinating their functions", Ekanayake said.

However, according to statistics, 944 people have died in road traffic accidents during the first five months of this year. Around 16,317 road accidents were reported during this period, out of which 871 were fatal. There were 2,718 major accidents, 5,933 minor accidents and 6,795 ‘damage only’ accidents during the same period. However, during the first five months of 2012, a total of 1,119 people died in 1,058 road accidents. The number was higher compared to the same period this year.

"Advising the ministries and other relevant authorities is insufficient to cope with the increasing number of road accidents and also with the number of vehicles. The NCRS want to act as an authoritative body which can take action to reduce road accidents," Ekanayake added.

He also said that the NCRS had recently increased the hit and run road traffic accident compensation payment.

According to NCRS Chairman, Compensation for death or permanent disability had increased to Rs.100, 000 and for grievous injury to Rs. 50,000.

"The compensation would be increased further, next year," he said.

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