Oh, how I wish we as a nation had shown the same concern, interest, focus and investment on reducing the number of road fatalities, as we have done in the past 4 months on Covid-19.
Oh, how I wish we as a nation had shown the same concern, interest, focus and investment on reducing the number of road fatalities, as we have done in the past 4 months on Covid-19. India ranks among the top countries in the world when it comes to people losing their lives due to road accidents. (read my article here on motor vehicle act 2019 to make Road Safety a priority)
And this is a recurring statistic which in any other country, would have sparked national outrage or brought about major reforms. Well, we might have even seen protests under the name of “Every life matter’s” or “Make our roads safer”. But sadly, it seems that no government has made Road safety in India a priority or has launched concrete initiatives to strip India of this unwanted distinction of one of the worst in the world in terms of road safety.
Covid-19 is a virus that has originated in a foreign country and has made its way into our lives which threatens the entire humanity. However, sooner or later, a vaccine will be found that will reduce its human implications. There is tremendous amount of coverage, focus and seriousness that is shown towards this disease and the efforts taken to spread awareness amongst the population are laudable. However, it makes you wonder whether we can apply the same level of efforts and commitment towards the man-made crisis that has become part of our lives called as “Road Accidents”.
Here are some statistics that speak a thousand words:
Source: WHO (2018-statistics)
The above statistics tell a story of its own.
The astonishingly high number of road fatalities in developing countries, especially India is concerning to say the least. 22.6 deaths/100k people is just not acceptable, especially when you extrapolate this number based on India’s population.
Just as a comparison:
- India has more than 20 times the population of UK
- India has more than 12 times the number of vehicles as compared to Australia
Now even though other BRIC countries such as Russia and Brazil statistically, might do worse, but given the sheer size of India’s population and the ill road manners, it is vital to address this at the earliest.
Road Safety in India: What can we do?
- Better education with emphasis on road manners and traffic rules in schools
- Stringent fines for traffic rule violators
- Tougher processes (tests) to be eligible for driving license
- Better education for truck and commercial drivers
- Stricter implementation of lane discipline
- Better quality roads
- Dedicated lanes for two wheelers/bicycles
- Better enforcement of speed limits
If all the state governments and central government work closely together, agree on a consensus that Road fatalities is a far bigger problem, and spread awareness to the same extent as they have done in the past 4 months, it would be a start. Accidents destroy families far more regularly than a pandemic and these deaths deserve the attention and focus it calls for. Deaths on roads are equally, if not more, dangerous than a once in a 100-year Pandemic. Let us all pledge to make Indian roads safer.