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Safety patrols help reduce fatalities

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI NOV. 7. There has been a sharp decline in the number of persons dying in road accidents on the highways, thanks to timely medical help rendered by safety patrols, the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, told the Assembly yesterday. The number of accidents had also come down. In August 2002, 337 persons died in 1,222 accidents. In August this year, the figures were 228 and 1,057. In September last year, 260 persons were killed in 1,239 accidents, while 206 died in 1,178 accidents in September 2003.

In 1683 accidents, which occurred on national highways in October 2002, 393 persons succumbed to their injuries. Last month, 1,325 accidents happened, resulting in the death of 315 persons. After the commencement of highways patrolling by the police, 2,221 persons were given medical help during August-October. Denying allegations by C. Gnanasekaran (Congress) of police personnel, the Chief Minister said the patrols, through the respective police stations, filed charge sheets in court against those who violated the Motor Vehicles Act, after checking the vehicles on national highways. Only the courts levied fine. The guilty directly made the payments, or on the court orders the police personnel collected and remitted the penal amounts. None of the police personnel on patrol duty was empowered to levy spot fines.

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