WORLD HEALTH Organisation has revealed in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. This has given a dubious distinction for the country.
The report says that in India 13 people die every hour in road accidents. These figures are also backed by the records of National Crime Bureau. It says that in 2007, 1.14 lakh people in India lost their lives in road mishaps. Road deaths in India registered a sharp 6.1 per cent rise between 2006 and 2007. These are the registered cases. The numbers could significantly increase considering the number of cases that go unregistered. 50 per cent of the deaths include pedestrians, cyclists and bikers. The maximum number of casualty is reported from Andhra Pradesh followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The reasons for such figures are also not very difficult to figure out. Most of the deaths can be attributed to speeding, not following traffic rules, no helmets, seat belts and child restraints in vehicles. An increase in average speed is directly related to both the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of crash consequences. Moreover, the traffic management in most of the cities does not function at all. The citizens should also be blamed who hardly follow any rules while driving. They can easily get away by paying paltry sums in case of any traffic law being broken. The law in itself is also not strict to keep checks on the vehicle movements. We don’t have scientific traffic engineering which forms the basis of road safety improvement practiced in the United States and United Kingdom since 1930s.
It is quite ironical that in our country 30 deaths from swine flu has made headlines but the 13 deaths per hour on road hardly find mention in the news. It is very important to set the traffic management right with the latest technologies. The drivers should also take all precautions. These road fatalities can become an ‘epidemic’ and will be the world’s fifth biggest killer by 2030.