Road accidents, a common sight in India
Risking your lives with reckless driving is not worth it
It's better to be safe than sorry
With some of the deadliest roads in the world, India to become the Road Accident Capital of the World
If you fear plane crashes, consider this: approximately 1.24 million people die every year worldwide in road accidents, and another 20 to 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries because of these accidents, according to the Global status report on Road Safety 2013 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Closer home, India has some of the deadliest roads with more than 4,30,000 road accidents and over 1,30,000 fatalities recorded from 2010 to 2014, as per the National Crime Records Bureau.
The deathly numbers
With around 387 deaths each day, that is almost 16 deaths every hour, which is equivalent to one jumbo jet crashing daily. Statistics also reveal that 47.9% of road accidents were attributed to over speeding, and 41.5% to dangerous and reckless driving.
Some of the other major factors that contribute to this alarming number are:
Poor adherence to traffic rules is quite common among Indian motorists. Speeding, jumping traffic lights, drunken driving, riding motorcycles without helmets and lane violations are quite rampant.
Poor road design
Flaws in road design and engineering, countless blinkers and numerous blind turns add to the mayhem on the roads.In fact, many new roads do not have medians or reflectors to delineate traffic lanes.
Fraudulent licenses and permits
Thousands of motor vehicle drivers across India don't have an appropriate license to drive commercial or other vehicles. However, by shelling out a few extra bucks, driver's licenses can be easily procured fraudulently.
Studies show that about one in two victims could have been saved had bystanders helped. However, they cannot be blamed completely as medical systems sometimes charge them money or they are dragged unnecessarily into legal hassles.
Rapid motorization of the economy has made owning a vehicle easier without an accompanying investment in road safety.
High penalties fail to work as they open room for negotiations with police officers and increase corruption.
What can be done to avoid this?
Although road traffic injuries are largely preventable, the answer lies in taking preventive and remedial measures. Indian schools and colleges need to implement capsule crash courses that cover emergency responses during an accident.Training for the police staff would also be useful, with police vehicles doubling up as ambulances. In addition, investing in motor insurance can help diminish the effect of losses.
The Road Transport and Safety Bill aims to provide a scientifically planned and evolving framework including a unified driver's licensing system, electronic traffic management, integrated transport systems and multimodal facilitation.
With a road network of over 48,65,394 kilometers as of 1st March 2012, India's road transport contributes to nearly 4.8% share of India's GDP. While India faces many other pressing issues, the WHO's label of "Most Deaths on Road" is a frightening distinction and deserves our urgent attention. Thus, the importance of concerted efforts to address road safety cannot be overemphasized. Our challenge is to keep this pledge and enhance the pace of change.