The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in June 2016 launched the Road Accidents in India 2015. The report identified that road accidents have emerged as a major public health problem in India as it witnessed around 5 lakh accidents killing 146000 people.
As per the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry, which compiled the report, while the number of road accidents witnessed 2.5 percent growth, the growth was 4.5 percent in the case of resultant deaths.
Reasons for high rate of road accidents and resultant deaths
• Drivers’ fault: It has been identified as the single most responsible factor for high rate of road accidents in the country. As per the 2015 report, drivers fault accounted for 77.1 percent of total road accidents during 2015.
• Further, driving by minors, faulty driving license issuing system, absence of interval-based driving skill test system, apathy towards following rules including drunken driving, mobile usage, etc are contributing to road accidents.
• Lack of extensive road network: Out of the 5 lakh odd road accidents in 2015, more than 80 percent took place on single lane and two lane roads. Single lane roads accounted for 43 percent of all the accidents.
• Besides, lack of demarcation of roads for different users like pedestrians, bicycle riders, etc are also resulting in higher deaths. For instance, in 2015, pedestrians accounted for 9.5 percent of those killed in road accidents.
• Lack of emergency aid facilities: There is an absence of emergency aid facilities on Indian roads. In majority of instances, victims get help only after the ‘golden hour’.
• Absence of safety features in vehicles: Majority of vehicles in India does not come with the internationally prescribed safety standards due to high cost of equipment, lack of consumer awareness, absence of regulations prescribing for the features, etc.
In order to effectively tackle the growing challenge of Road Safety, the Union Government announced a concerted action plan with the intent to reduce the number of road accidents by half by 2019. To achieve this goal, it has unveiled the following initiatives.
• Constitution of the Road Safety Authority to look after overall aspects related to road safety in the county.
• Introduction of the Road Transport and Safety Bill in the Parliament for seamless development of a secure, efficient, cost-effective, sustainable and inclusive transport system for the movement of passenger and freight in the country.
• 11000 crore rupees will spent, between 2015 and 2019, to fix block spots across the country. This measure is in addition to the website that was launched to help in identifying black spots where accidents take place frequently.
• Computers will be used for conducting driving tests to curb irregularities in issuing licenses.
• Airbags will be made compulsory in every car.
• 500 crore rupees earmarked to undertake remedial engineering measures to reduce crashes on priority-1 category block spots on highways.
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