Lancet Study On Road Safety and India’s Road Safety Measures
The Lancet study highlights the urgency of implementing a safe system approach that can effectively address road injury death by 2030 and the number of lives that can be saved through intervention in road safety risk factors.
The report uses mortality data from the Global Burden of Disease 2017.
This is the first-time country-wise reports are presented based on four parameters drunk- driving, helmet use, speeding, seat -belt use.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE REPORT
- Steps taken to check vehicle speed on road in India could alone have the biggest impact on ensuring road safety by saving 20,554 lives annually.
- The major four risk factors such as speeding, drunk driving, and non-use of crash helmets and seat belts could prevent 25%to 40%of the 13.5 lakh fatal road injuries worldwide every year.
- In the case of India, intervention to check to speed could save 20,554 lives and the promotion of crash helmets could save 5,863 lives, and encouraging the use of seat belts could save 3,204 lives.
- There were no estimates for drunk driving available to assess in India either due to poor reporting or inadequate data maintenance.
- According to Road Transport and Highway Ministry 2020 report, there were 1,31,714 deaths due to road accidents and speeding accounted for 69.3% of death, non-wearing helmets result in 30.1% of death and no use of seat belts caused 11% of death.
- Road injuries are the eighth leading cause of death globally for all ages and the first cause in the 5-29 years age group deaths.
- Approx. 14 lakh people die each year and up to 5 crores are injured by road injuries across the world.
- India accounts for almost 10% of all crash-related death while accounting for only 1% of the world’s vehicles.
IMPACT OF ROAD ACCIDENT
India's socio-economic cost of road traffic accidents for the year 2019 was in the range of USD15.71 billion to USD38.81 billion, which amounts to 0.55–1.35% of the Gross Domestic Product.
At the individual level, road crash injuries and even deaths cause a severe financial burden and push entire households into poverty and the already poor into debt.
Every road accident death causes exhaustion of nearly seven months’ household income in poor families and pushes the children of victims into a cycle of poverty and debt
Women in the families of victims carry the burden across poor and rich households, often doing up extra work, assuming more greater responsibilities, and performing caregiving activities.
About 50% of women were severely affected by the decrease in their household income after a crash.
About 40% of women also reported a change in their working area post-accident.
- Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety 2015
This declaration was signed at the second Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety which was held in Brazil. India is also a signatory to the Declaration in 2015, to reduce road deaths by 50% in five years.
Signatory countries plan to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.6 i.e. half the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2030.
- UN Global Road Safety Week
It is celebrated every two years, the fifth edition was held from 6-12 May 2019, which highlighted the need for strong leadership for road safety.
- Decade Of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030
In September 2020, United Nation adopted this resolution with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic injuries and death by 2030.
India’s Initiative for Road Safety
Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019
- It provides compulsory insurance to all road users through the creation of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and cashless treatment for accident victims during golden hour i.e. within 1 hour of an accident.
- It encourages Good Samaritans to proactively play their role by making them non-liable to any civil or criminal action against them.
- Formation of a National Road Safety Board that would technical advice and assistance to the central government on road safety standards, and traffic management. It is in line with the global practices found in countries like the United States, Sweden, and Australia.
- It increases penalties for traffic violations.
National Road Safety Policy 2010
- It is a multi-pronged strategy to address road safety in India based on the 4 “E’s i.e. Education (promoting awareness), Engineering (safer road and vehicle infrastructure, including the application of smart transportation), Enforcement of safety laws, and Emergency care including trauma care.
- Under this, National Road Safety Council (apex body), State Road Safety Council, and District Road Safety Committee are formed to take decisions on the matter of road safety.
- Public campaign for road safety through electronic and print media.
- Identification of black spots and accident-prone areas and rectifying them by the adoption of correct means.
- Improving Road accident data collection and proper database management and carrying out Road Safety Audits.
- Improving Vehicular Safety Standards example trucks prohibited from carrying protruding rods, Car crash standards made mandatory, Anti-locking Brake systems (ABS) mandatory on heavy vehicles, etc.
- Training of the drivers and Refresher course for Drivers in unskilled sectors.
- Quick response ambulances in every 50km on National Highways by the National Highway Authority of India.
- E-challan- digitally induced challan on the identification of vehicles breaking rules through installed cameras.
- Speed detection device (Radar Gun) – already been introduced in Chandigarh, New Delhi.
- Strict and heavy fines are imposed on drunk and drive violators or those breaking road safety norms.
- Raised platforms and safety humps, roundabouts, and optical markings are adopted to reduce road accidents.
- Supreme Court directive in 2014 to ban the sale of alcohol on highways to restrict drunk driving.
Despite proper acts and policies, road safety is still a major concern due to
- poor enforcement of laws,
- lack of human resources to check on violators,
- high corruption in RTO offices, bribery on breaking traffic rules,
- absence of proper training or testing facilities for drivers,
- cameras and electronic detection devices limited to a few big cities,
- inadequate vehicular safety standards,
- lack of funds to erect proper road safety infrastructures and
- lack of proper awareness and education regarding road safety measures among drivers and masses.
For ensuring better road safety and achieving the target of reducing road accident deaths to 50% by 2024, high priorities have to be accorded to:
- Mandatory formation of State Road safety Board to ensure minimum standards of design, construction, operation, and management of road safety.
- Formation of District Road Safety Committees with the involvement of local people to address the local road safety issues.
- Strict implementation of laws by authorities.
- Center-state coordination on creating necessary safety infrastructures on national and state highways.
- Ensuring scientific data collection for the adoption of a more indented and focused approach towards road safety.
- Road safety awareness and education program.
- Implementation of the recommendations of the Sundar committee which advised 1% of the total proceeds of cess on petrol and diesel to be diverted into Road Safety Funds, decriminalization of road accidents that makes the hospitals reluctant to accept road accident victims, and formation of National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board with experts drawn on various fields including road engineers, medical care, automobile engineers, etc. to ensure road safety.