Anyone who has been to India – specially on a Highway in a car – knows that his or her being alive has to rank as the greatest miracle in this world. One can possibly explain in complete minutiae the nuances of Quantum Physics in flat 10 minutes, but it impossible to comprehend how could one even beat the heavy odds of a car making it through the Highway journey in India when it came face-to-face with huge trucks so many times on the way and swerved at the last moment to avoid a head on collision.
Well, in India Road accidents cost roughly Rs 1 Lac Crores annually! Furthermore, India has ONLY 1% of world’s vehicles but 10% of road accident deaths!
This was announced by Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi said while inaugurating a regional conference on road safety strategy on Monday organized by International Road Federation (IRF).
Lack of seriousness of Indian Government towards this major threat to civil security was even more tellingly brought out by Chairman of IRF, KK Kapila.
“Road accidents are serious issues, but little attention is being paid to this. While annually the nation loses almost 1.5% of its GDP on account of road accidents, we are not even spending 10% of that amount to make our roads safe,” said K K Kapila, chairman of IRF.
What is required is to have better roads and highways,enforcement of proper licensing and road safety laws and also have more trauma centers within cities and along highways to minimize deaths.
The human cost – beyond the money – is even more. Consider the following facts:
India has the highest road traffic accident rate worldwide with over 140,000 deaths annually, beating even China. Every hour, nearly 14 lives are lost due to road accidents in India. More than 40 % of the deaths are caused by trucks and two-wheelers. Most accidents occur in the afternoons and during peak hours (especially in the evening) considered an ‘unsafe’ or dangerous time to be on the road. In 67% of these accidents there is head injury. Most people do not wear seat belts or those on two wheelers do not wear a helmet -though it is compulsory in many states of the country.
Every Hour 14 people die in the country. That is a terrible tragedy for a country which wants to bank on the young generation. And since these deaths happen predominantly with two-wheelers (scooters and motor-bikes) it is obvious that youths are the worst hit!