Road accidents can be reduced

Synopsis: India road accident status highlights the importance of road safety in India. 


Recently, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways decided to award Good Samaritans who save the lives of road accident victims with the cash prize.

Read more: Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Launches Rewarding Scheme for Grant of Award to the Good Samaritan who has saved life of a victim of a fatal accident involving a motor vehicle
What is the present status of road accidents in India?

At present India ranked third among 20 nations that have the highest number of accidents. India cases to fatalities ratio, with 415 deaths each day, is much worse compared to the U.S. and Japan, which have more recorded crashes but fewer deaths.

The Madras High Court recently struck down the 2018 notification of the Union Government wherein the speed limit was hiked to 120 and 100 km/hour on expressways and highways, respectively. This was done as 66.7% of accidents was attributed to overspeeding in 2017, 55.73% in 2018 and 64.4% in 2019.

In 2019, according to a study conducted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, More than 1.5 lakh persons were killed and more than 4.5 lakh were injured in road accidents across the country.

National Highways (NHs) and State Highways, which account for about 5% of the total road length, claimed 61% of the deaths related to accidents.

During 2020, even with severely disrupted mobility due to COVID-19, National Crime Records Bureau data show 1,33,715 lives were lost in 1,20,716 cases attributed to negligence relating to road accidents.

Read more: “Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities” -World Bank report on road accidents in India
How government is ensuring adequate safety on the roads?

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019: The Act has a motive of bringing down the death rate due to road accidents by 50% by 2020. The Act has a dedicated chapter to sensitise police forces and hospitals regarding Good Samaritan.

Note: Recently, the government shifted the deadline under the Act to 2025.

National Road Safety Board: The board mandate include the formulation of standards on, among other things, safety and trauma management, building capacity among traffic police, and put the crash investigation on a scientific footing.

United Nations Brasilia Declaration: The declaration was adopted at the second global high-level conference on road safety held in Brazil in 2015. It lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport, strengthening the post-crash response, etc. India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration.

Various initiatives of states

Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of accidents in 2017. Tamil Nadu government introduced a model to identify and removing Black spots in the road. At present, they have reduced road accidents by 38% and deaths by 54%.

The Accident Research Cell of the Delhi Traffic Police carried out an analysis of accidents and created a database that facilitates the formulation of policies to prevent accidents.

Read more: The issue of Road Safety in India – Explained pointwise
What are the steps India needs to do to reduce accidents?

Achieving a reduction in mortality on Indian roads need determined action on several factors. Such as

i) Scientific road design and standards, and identification of black spots that are prone to accidents,

ii) Deploying an adequate number of police personnel, particularly during peak hours,

iii) Zero-tolerance enforcement of the Motor Vehicles Act,

iv) Highway patrols with police personnel trained in first aid and ambulances every 10 km could also help save precious lives,

v) Educating citizens about the impact of accidents on the kin of the victims through public discourse will help in reducing accidents.
National Crime Records Bureau

Source: This post is based on the following articles

  • “Recognising altruism: On rewarding Good Samaritans on road” published in The Hindu on 7th October 2021.
  • “Road accidents can be reduced” published in The Hindu on 7th October 2021.
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