With only 1% of the world’s automobiles, India accounts for over 10% of all crash-related deaths. Road deaths are closer to home than you think. Every person on the road is someone’s grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, brother, sister, or child. Read the article to know more about Road safety in India.
Are we aware of the main causes of road accidents?
Do we know what measures are taken by the government to ensure our safety on road?
Road safety refers to the precautions that everyone must take when utilising roads. These safety measures are intended to reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries, or fatalities on the road. All road users, including pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles, and bus and truck drivers, must respect these rules.
Causes of road accidents
- There is an increased mismatch between demand and capacity. Increasing urbanisation and economic growth in India are not translating into a corresponding increase in road capacity.
- Deficits in infrastructure include poor road and vehicle conditions, blind spots, and a lack of attention to structural reform such as strengthening engineering requirements for roads, signage, and signals.
- Failure to take measures by road users, such as not wearing helmets, triple-riding, excessive speeding, intoxicated driving, and distraction while driving, such as chatting on cell phones.
- Many drivers do not have a valid licence. Furthermore, the large frequency of accidents indicates that India’s current licencing structure is untrustworthy.
- India updated its motor vehicle law in 2019, however, its implementation by state governments is inconsistent and incomplete. State governments’ priorities remain traditional, with an emphasis on user behaviour (drivers and other road users), education, and unequal enforcement.
- The Motor Vehicle Act only provides for a fine of up to one lakh for failure by the designated authority, contractor, consultant, or concessionaire to follow norms and stipulations, resulting in death or disability, and there is little evidence that even this has been enforced following a public inquiry.
- India lacks a technically competent investigation arm capable of determining accident causes. As a result, accidents occur at the same locations repeatedly.
Importance of Road safety
- Road traffic injuries are one of the primary causes of mortality, disability, and hospitalisation in the country, exacting significant socioeconomic consequences.
- According to the World Bank, traffic accidents cost India 3.14% of its GDP, the majority of which are avoidable.
- According to World Bank estimates, poor households pay a greater proportion of the socioeconomic burden of road disasters due to lost income (more than 70% of crash victims are from poor households), high medical expenses, and restricted access to social safety nets.
- In India, road transport is the primary means of transportation. With rising population and economic development, the number of vehicles and length of road networks has grown dramatically throughout the years. Road safety must keep up with this expansion.
- The country’s potential to reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.6, which aims to cut road traffic fatalities and injuries in half, is called into question by the country’s continually high yearly death toll.
Measures to ensure Road Safety
The Motor Vehicle Act
The Act went into effect in 1989 and was updated in 2019. It provides for the issuance of motor vehicle licences and permits, as well as motor vehicle standards and penalties for violations of these requirements. Its key provisions are as follows:
The 2019 Amendment enhances penalties for many Act offences.
The Act empowers the federal government to mandate the recall of motor vehicles if a flaw in the vehicle threatens the environment, the driver, or other road users.
A good Samaritan is defined by the Act as a person who provides immediate medical or non-medical aid to a victim at the scene of an accident.
The Act compels the central government to establish a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to offer mandatory insurance coverage to all road users in India.
Compensation for road accident victims: The national government will design a plan for cashless treatment of road accident victims during the golden hour.
National Road Safety Policy
It covers the policy efforts to be implemented by the government at all levels to improve road safety activities in the country.
Database of information on road safety
It will aid local governments, union territories, and states in improving the quality of crash investigations and data collecting, transmission, and analysis.
Bharat New Car Assessment Programme
The Bharat NCAP rating will inform buyers about the level of protection provided by the vehicle. It establishes the concept of passenger automobile safety ratings and empowers consumers to make educated judgments. The vehicles will be given a star rating ranging from one to five stars based on their performance in several tests.
Towards Zero Policy
Its vision is a road system with zero deaths and serious injuries. Helps in investing in road safety infrastructure to make our roads and roadsides more forgiving if the worst happens. The campaign aims to engage the community and encourage everyone to play their part in achieving a move towards zero. Towards Zero takes the approach that everyone should be aware that safety is a shared responsibility.
National Road Safety Board
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act of 2019 establishes the National Road Safety Board. Its mission is to oversee road safety issues and develop effective ways of implementing road safety policies. It will look into enhancing road infrastructure and introducing new traffic control techniques. The board will also focus on village road construction and traffic management.
The National Road Safety Council
It is an advisory organisation established under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 with the goal of promoting road safety in the road transport industry.
The Transport Development Council
It is the top organisation in charge of advising the government on all issues concerning roads and road transportation.
This programme intends to improve the efficiency of freight and passenger transit throughout the country by bridging significant infrastructure gaps through efficient interventions.
Project for Dedicated Freight Corridor
The Indian Railways’ Golden Quadrilateral, which connects Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Howrah, would decongest an already congested road network and encourage increased freight movement via rail.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
To support road activities, a portion of the fuel and diesel cess will be allocated.
Supreme Court judgement
In 2014, the Supreme Court established the KS Radhakrishnan panel on road safety. The committee’s main proposal was to prohibit the selling of alcohol on highways (both state and national) in order to reduce drunk driving. Audit of road safety to be implemented by states to ensure the safety standards in the design, construction, and maintenance.
Sustainable Development Goal 3.6
Reduce the number of global road traffic deaths and injuries by half by Reduce the number of global road traffic deaths and injuries by half by 2030.
Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety
It is approved during the second global high-level conference on road safety, which is being held in Brazil. India has signed the Declaration of Brasilia. It recommends tightening existing legislation, implementing sustainable transportation, and improving post-crash response. Countries intend to accomplish Sustainable Development Goal 3.6 through the Brasilia Declaration.
” Decade of Action for Road Safety”: 2010-2020
Because of the epidemic of vehicle accidents, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2011-2020 the “Decade of Action for Road Safety.”
Ensure safer road infrastructure
The government should take steps to examine safety standards in the design of rural and urban roads and bring them in line with worldwide best practices while keeping Indian traffic circumstances in mind.
Utilization of technology
The continued use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) within a national framework to develop a safe and efficient transportation system should be promoted.
Increase public understanding of road safety issues.
The government will step up efforts to raise awareness about many aspects of road safety, the social and economic consequences of road accidents, and what has to be done to combat the growing threat of road accidents.
Road safety research
The government will support increasing engagement in road safety research programmes by designating priority areas, sufficiently funding research in those areas, and establishing centres of excellence in research and academic institutions.
National Roadways Road Safety Police and state highway road safety officers are proposed for strict enforcement on national highways.
Artificial intelligence approaches are used to communicate, monitor, operate, and manage roadways in a reasonable and orderly manner, among other things.
Article Written By: Atheena Fathima Riyas