#roadsafetymeasuresinindia #roadsafetycurriculuminindia #roadsafetyassessmentinindia Road travel has become an integral part of all of us and cannot be avoided in our day to day life. With increasing economy and population, there has been an immense increase in the traffic on the roads over a period of time. While on the one hand it has made things convenient for us but on the other hand it also increases our concerns of road safety.
Even though India has the second largest road network in the world yet it has a high toll of road accidents. Every day around 350 people and every year more than one lakh people die in road accidents in India and the percentage is increasing each year. India accounts for about 10 percent of road accident fatalities in the world and has even overtaken the more populous China, which is alarming. Our roads have a heterogeneous mix of traffic with high speed vehicles, rickshaws, motorcyclists, scooters, cyclists and pedestrians all sharing the same space at the same time which makes things difficult, on an already overburdened road infrastructure leading to major accidents. The time has come to go for the high-end road safety measures in India, but before that we must understand the causes behind these accidents.
What are the causes of these accidents?
Around 80% of the road accidents happen because of the fault of the driver. There are several other reasons for these high accident rates in India such as-
- Drunken driving.
- Driver’s fault due to over speeding.
- Incompetent, untrained drivers.
- Pedestrian’s fault.
- Bad and defective roads.
- Mechanical defects in the vehicles.
- Bad weather conditions.
What are the effects of these accidents?
- Loss of life.
- Loss of earnings for the family affected.
- Costly injuries.
- Property damages.
- Primary accidents cause backups and lead to secondary accidents.
- Loss of travel time and increased congestion on the road.
- Increased noise and air pollution.
- 3 to 4% of Gross National Product is lost in road accidents.
- Total annual economic loss to the country due to road accidents is more than Rs.3,00,000 crore therefore road accidents are a huge burden on the national economy.
What are the measures that can be taken to curb these accidents?
To make our roads safer and accident free, we have to take a few important steps in this direction such as-
- Make Road Safety Assessment in India a compulsory part of the syllabus in schools as the children should learn about the rules and safety of roads early in life. It could be done through workshops, role plays, make believe situations, movies and field trips making it a fun and interesting subject for the students and teachers. A suitable road safety curriculum in India needs to be designed and structured.
- Strict implementation of the traffic rules- The defaulters should be fined heavily for breaking the rules. There should be an enforcement of the use of seat belts in car and helmets on two wheelers.
- Proper and authorized driver training institutes with adequate infrastructure. The government of India has decided to set up 10 modern driving schools costing Rs140 crores in different states to produce competent drivers.
- Make licensing and driving tests stricter.
- Enforcing the heavy vehicles to fix reflective tapes over them to be clearly visible during night time.
- Mandatory registration of criminal cases if the vehicle is overloaded.
- Imprisonment and heavy penalty for drunken driving.
- Mandatory annual fitness checks of the school buses as well as drivers.
- Emergency medical services such as crash rescue vehicles, paramedics, free trauma care etc. to be fully functional and in place for prompt relief and care of the accident victims.
- Mandatory vehicle fitness checks for all vehicle owners.
- Road infrastructure-The automobile population in India has grown up to 170 times in the past 50 years but the country’s road has grown only about 9 times. So there is a dire need to improve the quality of the roads in India. Flyovers, grade separators, service roads, sign boards, pavements, monitored crossings near schools and other safety features have to be the primary focus while designing new road infrastructure.
- Need to provide well maintained, safe and efficient public transport systems.
- Road Safety Awareness in Indiais very poor therefore there is a need to educate and make people aware of the road safety through various events and programs such as melas, exhibitions, seminars, cultural programs, mobile exhibitions through vans, education through announcements from PA system, following road safety weeks, providing on the spot help and first aid to road users, distribution of road safety literature etc. on a regular basis. This can be done with the help of schools, colleges, RWAs, NGOs, transport and trade unions.
- There is also a need to follow and organize Road Safety Programs in India on a regular basis through road safety march, street plays, painting, essay and quiz competitions and through regular programs for school kids, pedestrians, drivers of commercial vehicles, auto drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers, two wheeler drivers, cyclists etc.
There is a dire need for road safety management in our country. Smart traffic management needs to be implemented in all the major cities of India. Some of the things that can be done are-
- Installation of more CCTV cameras for better monitoring of traffic.
- Highway patrolling using radar to detect overspending vehicles.
- Highway advisory radios.
- Center to center communications.
- Weather monitoring stations.
- To reduce primary and secondary accidents there is a need for a traffic incident management program which helps to reduce congestion and rescues the accident victims to nearest hospital promptly.
Who should share the responsibility of road safety?
- First and foremost the citizens of the country. As responsible citizens of the country together we can make the change.
- Government and legislative bodies of India.
- Police – police can improve road use behavior through enforcement and strict measures.
- Media- media can play a very important role in creating road safety awareness through advertisements on safe driving (use of seat belts and helmets, avoiding the use of cell phones and dangers of drunken driving etc.). Celebrity endorsements make the message even more effective.
Let us make our cities and towns’ safe and accident free with our conscious effort and positive attitude. We need to have voluntary discipline within ourselves to overcome this hurdle.