According to the census, Indian roads witness 415 deaths per day in accidents, the highest in the world, addressed Minister Nitin Gadkari last month. The Road Accident Report for 2019 claims that overall 449,002 accidents took place in India during 2019, leading to 151,113 deaths and 451,361 injuries.
With one per cent of the world's vehicles, India accounts for 10 per cent of all road accidents in the world. This latest information was shared by the World Bank report on road safety on Saturday. The World Bank’s Vice President for South Asia, Hartwig Schafer has said that the Indian government has taken admirable steps for addressing the problems related to road safety. "For India, it's one per cent of the world's vehicles and 10 per cent of the crash victims. This is something where, in particular in India, we have to pay attention," Schafer quoted in his latest interview on the day of the release of the report based on road safety on Saturday in New Delhi.
He also brought to the notice that though the attention in the last year has inclined due to pandemic, there is a noteworthy link between road safety and pandemic right now. "Unfortunately, the road crashes have not been going down and any time 10 per cent of the capacity in hospitals is being used for the treatment crash victims," he said. Schafer explained that road crashes mostly affect the poorest and the most vulnerable sections of society. He also quoted that the financial impact of the crash is far more on poorer households than on the financially well of population. Its effects are much more on women who have to take care of the burden of caregiving. It increases on those who rely on foot and also in the informal sector. According to Schafer, it is also true and delightful India is paying attention and working a bit on road safety. Last year, India’s Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act was amended, which is leading to a lot of innovative transformation in terms of financing, safety and enforcement for the near future.
Schafer announced that Tamil Nadu is one of the states which has reduced the number of crash fatalities by 25 per cent in response to the question asked by the interviewers on the same topic. "For us in the bank, this is a major part of our engagement in the transport sector -rural transport, urban transport the focus on new mobility post-COVID is something that we are doing," he said. "The financial impact of the crash is much more on poorer households than on better-off households. It is much higher on women who have to take care of the burden of caregiving. It is much higher on those who rely on foot and also in the informal sector," he said. He elaborated that in South Asia, the World Bank is helping in road safety standards along with the institutional aspects and making a safer infrastructure is one of the major elements of addressing this major problem. "We need to make sure that we have adequate roadside barriers. We need to make sure that traffic calming areas are being put in. The roads have to be safe. The vehicles have to be safe too," he said.
He also focused on the fact that if we don't have a full functioning vehicle inspection system then we will always have unsafe vehicles on the road, and the documentation and analysis stated that the major crashes are caused due to these vehicles. Another important aspect is the emergency health care facilities in the vicinity of highways making a huge contribution in immediate treatment to victims. Highway corridors in India that have well-accessed healthcare and emergency care, in terms of clinic centres, trauma centres for emergency patients that contributes and makes a vast difference in terms of whether a crash victim gets proper medication or not. "When we plan highways now, we need to make sure that crash victims are getting care within the first hour of the crash. That very often makes the difference between life and death," he said.
The data collection and generation related to this shows that in the countries that have good laws and enforcement, the cases of accidents is considerably getting low. Even the Indian government is working on all these aspects, he said, hoping that in the future the crash cases will reduce if the laws are enforced strictly. “The Union for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari is personally, very much committed to road safety," Schafer said, adding that the graph of reducing crash is consistent which is good news. The target of the government to reduce the road crashes by half by 2030, is achievable, he asserted, as the grounds have already been set for this in India. Schafer asserted that all auto manufacturers should equip their vehicles in India with the equivalent safety standards that they do in big countries like the US and the UK. He also addressed that the UN Special Envoy for Road Safety should not be a hypocrite when working with the vehicle manufacturing association.
"I know that the Indian government is looking into raising those standards and setting standards, but it also has to come with global pressure. It is important. You look at things that are available in terms of, starting with antilock brakes to go to automatic computerized lane retention. Those are things that we should see as standard across the world because they make a huge difference," Schafer said. According to the census, Indian roads witness 415 deaths per day in accidents, the highest in the world, addressed Minister Nitin Gadkari last month. The Road Accident Report for 2019 claims that overall 449,002 accidents took place in India during 2019, leading to 151,113 deaths and 451,361 injuries.