Issues related to road safety have been discussed and highlighted when dignitaries like Gopinath Munde and Sahib Singh Verma, and celebrities such as Jaspal Bhatti and Paul Walker (of the Fast & Furious fame) were killed in car accidents. However, it is a lesser-known fact that the number of paramilitary personnel who die in road accidents is four times more than those battling terrorists or insurgents.
Why is it then that we are unable to curb the menace? Why do these road accidents occur? When asked about the key challenges around these, Mr. Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka said, "The approach to any road safety management initiative should consider that humans as road users are fallible and will make mistakes, but at the same time, should recognize that road safety is a fundamental human right". Therefore, it is indeed a tightrope.
The root cause of this problem can also be traced to the inadequacies of The Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which regulates all the aspects related to road safety. The need of the hour is to amend the archaic act to introduce stricter provisions for issuing licenses and punishing offenders.
Another major factor that contributes towards making our roads unsafe is the poor implementation of traffic rules. While rash and negligent driving account for a large number of accidents, the quality of our roads accentuates the problem. Potholes, unfinished roads, low-quality material, and faulty or missing road signs make our roads extremely dangerous.