According to a report by World Bank, India has a mere 1% of the world’s vehicles but accounts for 11% of the global deaths due to road accidents, which is highest in the world! Undoubtedly, road accidents in India are a much more inimical enemy than the deadly virus.
Every year, India witnesses more than 4.5 lakh road crashes, in which 1.5 lakh people die. As per the World Bank report there happen 53 road crashes every hour in India, taking a toll on 1 person’s life every 4 minutes! All through the last decade, 50 lakh Indians got injured in road accidents while a whopping 13 lakh lost their lives.
According to a recent study commissioned by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the socio- economic costs of road crashes at Rs. 1, 47, 114 crore in India, which is equivalent to 0.77% of the country’s GDP.As per the ministry, 76.2% of the people who lose their lives in road crashes are in their prime working age that is 18- 45 years.
All through 2019, a total of 1, 51, 113 people were killed in 4, 80, 652 road accidents, an average of 414 deaths a day or 17 deaths per hour. In 2019, India continued to account for the largest number of road fatalities in the world, followed by China with 63, 093 deaths in 2, 12, 846 accidents. While the USA recorded the highest number of road crashes- 22, 11, 439 in which 37, 461 deaths were reported in the same year.
While the leading cause of road crashes and deaths was found out to be speeding, two- wheelers were involved in most of the fatalities. The highest number of road accidents was witnessed by Tamil Nadu (57, 228), followed by Madhya Pradesh (50, 669), Uttar Pradesh (42, 572), Kerala (41, 111) and Karnataka (40, 658).
As far as road fatalities among cities was concerned, Delhi retained its first rank in 2019 with 1, 463 deaths, followed by Jaipur (1, 283 deaths), Chennai (1, 252 deaths) and Bengaluru (768 deaths).
According to the World Bank, the road crash fatality rate is three- times higher in low-income countries compared to high income countries. The report stated, “There is a distinct correlation between socio- economic status and road use patterns in low and middle income countries and poor people are more likely to be involved in a road traffic crash.”
In a country like India, the income level of an individual directly determines the mode of transport used by the person; and vulnerable road users are forced to share space with other less vulnerable users. This therefore increases the amount of risk faced by a particular road user. The World Bank report also stated that daily wage workers and casual labourers are more prone to be defined as vulnerable as compared to individuals engaged in regular activities.
Thus, the vulnerable road users constitute of poor male users coming from the working age category and these users account for more than half of all the road crash fatalities and injuries in India.
It is the ultimate fact of the matter that majority of these accidents are caused by human negligence and a callous attitude while on the roads. All through our childhood, teachers have taught us to follow the traffic rules and be a responsible citizen and an alert driver, alas, we tend to forget the values and rules as we grow up and that results into Indians turning into irresponsible citizens with a dearth of civic sense. Now this doesn’t mean that only the drivers ought to be responsible, many a time, the drivers follow the traffic rules, it is the pedestrian who is at fault; therefore, as Indians we literally need to learn to walk while on the roads too!
Nevertheless, one of the major causes which lead to road crashes is distracted driving. Driving needs undivided attention; READING OR REPLYING TO TEXTS, ATTENDING CALLS, LISTENING TO SONGS CAN WAIT! What good will these things do if you lose your life?
Another dangerous cause of the same is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE! Kindly take a cab home if you’ve had a drink or let your sober friend drive. Don’t think that you won’t be intoxicated after partying the whole night! On another note, TRY QUITTING ALCOHOL AND DRUGS! They are anyhow perilous to your health and life!
Most of the accidents on road occur due to speeding. Reckless driving leads to the most horrible of crashes, DO NOT THINK YOU LOOK ‘COOL’ WHILE YOU HIT THE THROTTLE OR PUSH THE ACCELERATOR FURTHER. The speed might thrill you but it can anytime kill you! Also important is time management- try to be on time. Mostly, people need to rush to offices or any other location where they are expected to be because they’re running late. Try to reach places on time; you won’t be needed to turn into a formula 1 racer then!
There are two things of utmost importance whose very existence is ignored by Indians on road- your helmet or seat belt! Kindly wear your helmet if on a two- wheeler; your hairstyle won’t save your life, your helmet will. Similarly, why can’t we wear a seat belt while driving a car? Not only it keeps our body posture straight but also prevents the chances of fatalities in case of a head to head collision. HOW DO YOU THINK IT’LL FEEL WITH THE STEERING WHEEL BREAKING INTO YOUR RIBCAGE? Definitely not a pretty sight to imagine or a sensation worth enjoying!
Lastly, traffic rules are meant to follow and not only be studied during school! A single and simple broken rule can lead to massive havoc, KINDLY KEEP ALL YOUR EXCUSES ASIDE AND FOLLOW THE RULES, the reason to rush can wait but your life won’t wait before it bids goodbye!
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