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18 February, 2021

5 Min Read

Road safety month

Road safety month

Context

  • The Madhya Pradesh bus crash shows that the accident pandemic is not waning

Introduction

  • India’s Road Safety Month, launched on January 18 as an extended form of the annual Road Safety Week for greater impact.

Data on India’s road accidents

  • India has the the world’s worst record on road safety.
  • India has, according to the just-released World Bank-commissioned report, Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities, 1% of the world’s vehicles but 11% of all road accident deaths.
  • The Union Transport Ministry put the number of dead in 2019 at 1,51,113, and injured at 4,51,361.
  • India’s highways, which witnessed 61% of deaths from just 5% of all accidents, as per 2019 data.

Impacts

  • Those who suffer the most are from low income households, especially in rural areas, and women bear the long-term financial and psychological impact of the losses more.
  • Large number of road accidents affect the fundamental right to life of the average citizen

Need for technical investigation

  • In the wake of this Madhya Pradesh bus mishap, the immediate response has been to order a magisterial inquiry, which is no substitute for a technical investigation conducted by safety experts.

Steps to be taken

  • Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act of 2019 has provisions that aim to bring about change.
    • But most States have been lukewarm towards hard steps to bring order to the roads.
    • This is reflected in the spate of accidents on India’s highways, which witnessed 61% of deaths from just 5% of all accidents, as per 2019 data.
  • Operationalise the National Road Safety Board, for which draft rules were circulated in December last year, to lay down engineering standards and complaints procedures that will help citizens hold States to account.
  • Transport departments continue to take an indulgent view of rule violations.
    • Political parties and others fix illegal flag poles and spears on car bonnets and metal contraptions to SUV bumpers, which are deadly in an accident.

Conclusion

  • Meeting the SDGs on transport and reduced road deaths and injuries will need actions that go beyond pious declarations.

Source: TH

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