“Road safety has been a victim of India’s policy paralysis since 2001” while critically analysing the given statement, describe the limitations of prevailing road safety measures in India. What measure should be taken by the govt. of India to overcome the issue of road safety?
India has been witnessing the rising fatalities of road accident since a decade. Every four minutes a life is lost in a road accident in India with 1,40,000 deaths recorded in 2012 alone. The World Health Organization 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety indicates rising trend in road accidents – rising from 8 deaths per lakh of population to nearly 12 in 2010.
Limitations of prevailing road safety measures in India:
- The sole statute governing road safety in India, the Motor Vehicles Act-1988 (MVA), has proved ineffective in addressing any of these issues decisively.
- Absence of law for pedestrians.
- Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2012, is archaic and contains recommendations which will not solve the current situation on Indian roads.”
- Officials in-charge of road safety are almost never held accountable.
- Road design continues to be dangerous.
- Indian laws around road safety remain deficient and poorly enforced.
Measure to be taken:
- Urgent need to actualise the five pillars on which the goals of the ongoing UN Decade of Action for Road Safety are based: road safety management; safer roads and mobility; safer vehicles; safer road users; and better post-crash response.
- The government must ban TV commercials by automobile companies and others that show dangerous driving. Youngsters are very likely to imitate them, causing accidents.
- Regulations need to be in place while issuing driving licences. Obsolete vehicles must be phased out.
- There must be regular tests for all users on reading road safety signs.
- Measures to discourage black vehicles, since they are more likely to be involved in accidents because of their low visibility.
- Yellow or bright colour should be promoted for container lorries, auto rickshaws and bicycles so that they are more visible.
- Suggested an expert, the use of bright coloured dress and uniform for school children since over 10 crore children walk on roads without footpaths, mostly unaccompanied by parents or care takers.
The Global status report on road safety 2013 estimates that more than 231 000 people are killed in road traffic crashes in India every year. Approximately half of all deaths on the country’s roads are among vulnerable road users – motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists. A heterogeneous traffic mix that includes high-speed vehicles sharing the road space with vulnerable road users as well as unsafe road infrastructure and vehicles that are in poor condition all contribute to the high fatality rates seen on India’s roads. India is one of the countries included in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Programme, yet there is a dire need to draw attention to the critical issue of road safety.