WHO has recently revealed its Global Road Safety data. As per the report, India has one of the worst road safety records in the world. Only 28 countries across the globe offers comprehensive road safety laws on the five key factors, speeding, drink and drive, use of helmets, child restraints and seat belts.
In India every year about 1 lakh people die due to the road accidents. India has been chosen among the 10 countries which are included in the WHO road safety project that is to be conducted over a period of five years with the 6 international partners. WHO’s road safety commission is aiming to educate masses with the various demonstrations and slide shows.
The above project is already in action in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab where the bike riders without the helmets are fined heavily and a tough campaign against over speeding is being implemented. Ahmedabad is the city that has received appreciation for the well-established and managed Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), that was started in 2009 and currently covers over 61 km of area transporting 1,40,000 passengers a day. Another 16 km of extension has been finalized in December last year and construction of another 24 Km will be pushing the passenger numbers to about 4 lakhs per day. Since the opening of the BRTS, transport models has seen a shift from the private transport to the BRTS and the project has also achieved objective of providing a safe transport system with about 50 percent reduction in the traffic at the BRT corridor.
WHO’s finding on the road safety:
- 88 countries have reduced the number of accidental death on their roads but the total number of accidental death is still high at 1.24 million per year.
- Half of the traffic related deaths are of pedestrians (22%), cyclists (5%) and motorcyclists (23%). The 31% death occurs in car accidents and other 1 % in unspecified traffic users.
- Only 35 countries have currently implemented the urban speed limit of about 50 km/h or less.
- There is strong drink and drive law governing about 70 percent of word population.
- Among motorcyclists head injury is the most vital concern, one should use better quality helmets.
- Seat belts help in reducing risk of fatal injury by 50 percent for the front seat occupants and about 75 percent for the rear seat occupants.
- Half of the countries currently have child restraint law, but these countries just represent about 32 percent of the total population. High income countries (about 88%) have child restraint laws. It is quite less in middle (about 43%) and low income countries (30%).
- Driving distractions are one of the growing threats to road safety. There are many types of driving distractions like use of mobile phones while driving. Report suggests that use of the mobile phone while driving is increasing rapidly, with exponential growth.
- Public transport system can be used to make commuting safer and can reduce traffic congestion.
The report says that the traffic injury and accidents are still the prime concern as about 1.24 million deaths occur every year on the road. It also projects the progress of many countries that have taken measures to reduce traffic related deaths. This had happened where political will has been transferred to the well-structured multispectral action plans. But more actions are sought in these areas:
- Reduction in deaths will require putting forward the needs of pedestrian, cyclists and motorcyclists.
- Legislation change should be fast
- Strong enforcement of safety law.