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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 29 August, 2022

  • 9 Min Read

The Economics of Road Safety

The Economics of Road Safety

Image Source - istock

Recently, the minimum six-airbag requirement for cars that can accommodate up to eight passengers was declared by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Recent Government steps:

  • For the safety of the people, the government has demanded that all cars have six airbags as of October 1, 2022.
  • Approximately 1,50,000 persons each year in India die in traffic accidents, with the 18–24 age group accounting for 60% of those fatalities.
  • The GDP loss resulting from unintentional deaths in India would be in the neighbourhood of 3%.

Criticisms:

  • Requiring more airbags will increase the cost of entry-level vehicles.
  • The price-sensitive segment of the auto market, which has already experienced a decline in sales over the past four years, will see its demand for cars further weakened as a result.
  • The business model of automakers may be destroyed by government involvement in the market.

Reasons for increasing death tolls

  • Preferences: Rather than focusing on safety, Indians base their decisions on a number of criteria, including purchase price, gas mileage, and creature comforts.
  • Wearing seatbelts and helmets: Indians tend to be reluctant to use seatbelts and helmets while driving.
  • In most situations, crashes are the result of negligence on the part of other road users.
  • Lack of understanding of traffic safety - The majority of people lack knowledge of traffic safety.

Picture in other countries

High-income nations Prior to the 1960s, traffic fatalities were on the rise in high-income nations, but they soon started to fall.

  • The focus of the issue changed from being on the driver to a more balanced strategy, which later became known as the "Safe System" strategy.
  • In a wide view of the environment where crashes occur, it comprised treatments that were centred on cars, road infrastructure, and post-crash care.
  • In 1966, the US Congress approved two crucial pieces of legislation that allowed the government to have a significant role in promoting road safety.
  • The Act for Promoting National Motor Vehicle Safety and
  • Roadway Safety Act
  • As a result, the National Highway Safety Bureau, subsequently known as the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA), was founded.

In countries with low and moderate incomes, on the other hand, the majority of LMICs experience an increase in traffic injuries or a steady level of traffic injuries.

  • Reason: There is a general correlation between income growth and traffic injuries, and traffic fatality rates are a function of income growth.
  • Growth in affluence is directly correlated with increased motorization in developing nations, which raises the risk of traffic accidents.
  • It is currently believed that nations are too impoverished to invest in harm reduction.
  • When a nation reaches a certain stage of economic growth, it starts to fund programmes to improve road safety, which lowers the number of people injured in traffic accidents.

Steps were taken in India to prevent road accidents

  • A National Road Safety Policy has been authorised by the government to raise awareness, create a database of information on road safety, support safer road infrastructure, enforce safety rules, and other objectives.
  • The National Road Safety Council was established by the government as the top authority to make decisions regarding road safety policy.
  • The Ministry introduced the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017—covering the entire spectrum of road safety—based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers.
  • The Ministry has developed a multifaceted approach centred on the four "Es" of education, engineering (for both roads and vehicles), enforcement, and emergency care to address the issue of road safety.
  • A National Road Safety Policy has been authorised by the government to raise awareness, create a database of information on road safety, support safer road infrastructure, enforce safety rules, and other objectives.
  • Selected sections of national highways have undergone a road safety audit.
  • Tightening of requirements for anti-lock brakes, seat belts, and other vehicle safety features.
  • Identification and correction of black spots (accident-prone places) on national highways have been given top priority.
  • To raise awareness among drivers, the Ministry of Road Transport established District Road Safety Committees in each district of the nation.
  • In order to consider and recommend the formation of a special organisation for traffic control and road safety, the government established the Sundar Committee in 2005.

Also, Read - Civil Services Reforms in India

Source: The Indian Express


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