Road Safety
Road Safety
India has the second largest road network in the world with over 3 million km of roads of which 60% are paved. These roads make a vital contribution to the India's economy. On the whole, the facilities for the road users are not up to the mark, leading to a high toll of the death victims. Recently, there is a growing concern over the road crash problem.

With the advancement of technology, the most developed projects undertaken along with the real estate are the massive road building projects. But while new roads are being built, faster and faster automobiles are being invented in high numbers making road safety a crucial question.

Road safety is emerging as a major social concern in the country. The statistics are mind boggling with an average mortality rate of 100,000 persons dying in road accidents.

According to a survey from WHO, each year road traffic injuries take away lives of 1.2 million men, women, and children around the globe and injure many more. The death toll is on the higher side for the countries where pedestrians, motorcyclists and passengers are vulnerable and vehicles lack the safety norms, like India.

NARPO Let's peek into some India related facts:
  1. 85% of all road accident deaths occur in developing countries and nearly half in the Asia-Pacific region
  2. India accounts for about 10 percent of road accident fatalities worldwide.
  3. An estimated 1,275,000 persons are grievously injured on the road every year.
  4. Social cost of annual accidents in India has been estimated at $ 11,000.
  5. Professionalism in driver training is absent, proportion of untrained drivers is continually on the rise and a positive driving culture is lacking.
In Indian perspective safety norms have lagged behind the international standards. Moreover, the international companies launch their vehicles on Indian Roads but somehow forget to implant safety measures that are mandatory abroad. To name a few these include: air bags and censors and many more. It is really unfaithful that the authorities who have been assigned the duty to look after safety norms on Indian roads have not performed up to their marks. But, enhancing road safety is such a complex task that we all should shoulder the responsibility to achieve success in this area.

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Hurdles in Road Safety
Although both the civilians and the Govt. officials are well informed about the urgency of the burning topic "Road Safety", still there are many hurdles in the path to implement "Road Safety" safely.

These are enlisted below:

  1. Negligence of Civilians : Civilians, the main victim, who make a huge hue and cry about the issue are responsible for lagging behind in the safety measures as these people on the first hand do not follow the already devised rules. One can easily spot people jumping traffic lights, driving while drunk, driving recklessly at super sonic speeds. Wearing seat belts is assumed as if they have been tied with the car seats. There is a need to understand that with such a vast population, it is the civil society on the first hand that has to play a crucial role in achieving success in this area.

  2. Pathetic Condition of roads : Civilians, the main victim, who make a huge hue and cry about the issue are responsible for lagging behind in the safety measures as these people on the first hand do not follow the already devised rules. One can easily spot people jumping traffic lights, driving while drunk, driving recklessly at super sonic speeds. Wearing seat belts is assumed as if they have been tied with the car seats. There is a need to understand that with such a vast population, it is the civil society on the first hand that has to play a crucial role in achieving success in this area.

  3. Unsafe Vehicle Design : Vehicles designed for Indian roads are not up to the International Standards. Safety norms are not even close to international level. Even if some luxury cars have them, they run the pockets dry. There is a need to look for viable solution in this respect.

  4. Under implementation of Road Safety Standards: Road are not well informed with the markings and signals. Line markings are not printed on all roads. Traffic signals are used for spiting and littering. Road barriers and other equipments are seen dwindling here and there on the roads.

  5. Indifferent Government : Government has implemented million dollar projects on building roads but it lacks proper planning. The corrupt government is the answer to all the sufferings of the Indian people. Tenders are opened for the known contractors only without checking the past records. Moreover, it is really ironical to note that the same contractors build roads abroad with 10 yrs warranty and when they build roads in India, They get washed away with the slightest showers.

  6. Lack of Laws and their proper enforcements : No Proper laws have been devised and those devised are not meant and dealt properly. Just drive as you like and if you happen to kill someone, just grease a few palms and walk into the sunset. Such is the height of corruption in India.

  7. Lack of Emergency Services : Roads lack any facility for emergency services. In case of an accident there is no provision for first aid treatment near the intersections. Victims have to cost their lives as doctors and hospitals are usually not nearby.

    Ultimately, it is the common man who has to suffer at the end of the road. Who should they blame for the sufferings?
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Road Ahead - Steps Needed to Be Taken
Different sectors of society should come forward and join hands in this direction to make Indian roads a safer journey. This page enlists what different sectors of society can do to make this drive a success.

1. Government and the Public Sector can work on :
  1. Development and implementation of effective road safety policies.
  2. Accountability in meeting road safety objectives and to ensure the effective use of resources.
  3. Funds for road safety programs.
2.Local and Regional Governments can:
  1. Take a leading role in coordinating the road safety effort of all relevant agencies and community groups within their particular administrative area. These activities should be consistent with the National Road Safety Plan, and coordinate activity across all relevant agencies in that geographic area.
  2. Ensure that planning of local facilities and residential areas effectively takes account of the road safety needs of the community.
  3. Where possible, fund and implement road safety programs and initiatives.
  4. Ensure effective policies for the control and enforcement of liquor laws.
3.Communities and Cultural or Ethnic Organizations can:
  1. Provide support and leadership for road safety campaigns and initiatives.
  2. Demonstrate a concern for the number of road deaths occurring and a commitment to foster improvements.
  3. Persuade various communities to accept a greater participatory role in road safety improvements.
  4. Work with other organisations in providing road safety education/publicity and other road safety programmes
4. Education Sector can:
  1. Make a formal commitment to promote effective road safety education in schools and pre-schools so that appropriate behaviour is fostered from early age.
  2. Develop links between schools and other agencies, such as the MOT, NRSC and police, in relation to road safety.
  3. Assist in the life-long education of road users.
5. Media can:
  1. Enhance community awareness and understanding of the causal factors and real costs of road crashes.
  2. Support road safety initiatives through responsible and objective reporting.
  3. Influence societal changes which lead to a reduction in unacceptable driver behaviour and poor attitudes.
6. Police and Enforcement Agencies can:
  1. Improve road user behaviour and vehicle standards through a balance of education, encouragement and effective enforcement strategies.
  2. Maximise enforcement effectiveness using proven enforcement systems and technology.
  3. Maintain a high level of expertise in crash/casualty reporting.
  4. Focus on high-risk behaviours and use casualty and crash data to identify locations and where police enforcement could minimise such unsafe behaviours.
7. Health Agencies and Professionals can:
  1. Ensure development of effective emergency medical/services.
  2. Advise patients on their fitness to use the road, including the effects of prescribed drugs and medication on road user performance.
  3. Provide feedback from injury assessment to improve vehicle occupant protection and road safety policy.
  4. Provide health promotion road safety programmes.
  5. Liaise with other practitioners in the road safety field to avoid duplication of effort.
8. Transport and Land-Use Planners can:
  1. Adopt effective and safe traffic management measures in planning transport and land-use developments.
  2. Pay particular attention to the safety requirements of people with disabilities, older people, children, pedestrians, bicycle riders and other non -motorised road users in the planning task.
9. Road Engineers and Highway Authorities can:
  1. Improve the safety performance of the road network by ensuring that planning, design, construction and maintenance places a high priority on safety outcomes.
  2. Apply crash reduction and crash prevention techniques to create safer road networks for the future.
  3. Review and safety audit existing, rehabilitated and new roads to eliminate unnecessary hazardous locations and misleading/absent markings.
10. Insurance Industry can:
  1. Assist in the development, sponsorship and funding of crash prevention programmes.
  2. Provide premium incentives as a means of encouraging and rewarding safer behaviour
  3. Provide feedback to government and regenerative crash trends and outcomes to assist in the further development of road safety policy.
11. Alcohol and Hospitality Entertainment Industry:
  1. Adopt responsible standards of alcohol serving and host responsibility programmes, especially for young adults.
  2. Assist patrons in monitoring alcohol consumption, for example, through the use of coin-operated breath testers and better labeling of alcoholic content of beverages.
  3. Promote the consumption of low-alcohol beverages in preference to higher proof drinks.
  4. Advertise and promote alcohol responsibility.
12. Vehicle Manufacturers and Importers can:
  1. Improve crashworthiness features of vehicles including enhanced occupant protection.
  2. Progressively introduce in-vehicle crash avoidance technology.
  3. Adopt an advertising code, which promotes the safety features and safety performance of vehicles and their responsible use.
  4. Discontinue importation of crashed vehicles. Such crashed vehicles must be repaired/restored in the originating country before being imported into [country name.
  5. Only vehicles under five years old to be imported and all vehicles to undergo a mandatory vehicle roadworthiness inspection before being permitted to use [country name] roads.
13. Heavy Vehicle Transport Industry can:
  1. Adopt responsible freight forwarding and driving schedules which permit adequate rest breaks and promote driver safety.
  2. Prevent the abuse of alcohol and drug stimulants and promote healthy lifestyle habits amongst drivers.
  3. Ensure high standards of vehicle, mechanical safety, and load stability and security.
  4. Enhance industry professionalism and safety through improved fleet management.
14. Driver Training Providers can:
  1. Require all learner vehicles to display signs.
  2. Equip learner and novice drivers with the necessary skills, attitudes and behaviour needed to drive safely on our roads.
  3. Maintain and foster a high standard of driver training, instruction and professionalism.
  4. Promote and foster the upgrading of driving skills amongst drivers, particularly drivers of heavy and public service vehicles.
  5. Establish an Association and enhance industry professionalism by developing a Code of Providers teaching materials, Driving Instructors training programmes, etc., for their members.
15. Motoring Associations can:
  1. Promote road safety amongst their memberships by providing up-to-date and relevant information on traffic laws, safe driver behaviour and techniques, road conditions, maintenance procedures and vehicle safety.
  2. Support, promote and sponsor effective road safety initiatives and campaigns.
  3. Provide membership feedback to government and industry on road safety policy and new initiatives.
16. Advertisers can:
  1. Discourage advertising which glamorizes and/or promotes unsafe practices and products.
  2. Actively encourage safer practices and products.
  3. Provide membership feedback to government and industry on road safety policy and new initiatives.
17. Researchers/Universities can:
  1. Ensure that there is a balance between research on basic and applied topics.
  2. Ensure that road safety research is of high quality, timely and that its implications are identified and promoted.
  3. Ensure the development of high quality databases.
  4. Evaluate effectiveness of measures implemented to ensure cost effective expenditure.
  5. Provide reliable research results and knowledge against which policy decisions can be made.
18. All Organization can:
  1. Develop internal safety policies for their staff including host responsibility.
  2. Promote safe practices in fleet operation.
  3. Larger fleet operators can encourage staff to participate in defensive driving courses, and where feasible, sponsor or buy in defensive driving courses for own staff at own premises.
19. Individual Road Users can:
  1. Attain a greater understanding, awareness, and practice of safe behavior and skills.
  2. Make a personal commitment to improve road safety by adopting more courteous and considerate road behavior and demonstrating care for the safety of others.
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Drunken Driving
  1. Alcohol has been successful in making a distinct niche in daily lives of humans since the centuries of the recorded history. Alcohol has been found to play a major role in social ills in almost all countries across the world, but foremost amongst the ills produced by alcohol is its role in traffic crashes.
  2. Alcohol and driving don't mix, but still, many people love to drink and drive resulting in numerous road mishaps. Drunken driving has been recognized as a world menace, based on the stats which reveal that road accidents cause 1.2 million deaths and 50 million injuries around the world each year. Some 480,000 of these deaths and 20 million of people get injured by drunken driving.
  3. The role of Alcohol in traffic safety has produced more controversies than any other topic. After drinking, the judgment power of the driver gets impaired - a threat to road safety. Due to its effects, driver tends to take more risks, becomes more aggressive and takes a longer reaction time. It has been well established that the relative probability of causing crash increases with the rising blood alcohol levels keeping road safety at stake.
  4. In India, drunken driving is customary in commercial vehicle drivers. Private car owners and youngsters are also major players in the game. Small bars along the Indian highways are of prime concern to control drunken driving. To make the matter worse the gamble of destiny is that Indian traffic officials are not well equipped with the necessary equipments required to introduce checks on driving in India. India has laws to check the drunken driving but its effective implementation is still to be worked upon.
  5. The MV Act, 1939, has a clause which states that "Driving by a drunken person shall be punishable at the first offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with a fine which may extend to two thousand rupees or both; and for a second offence, if committed within three years of the previous similar offence, imprisonment for a term which may extend to three thousand rupees, or with both.
  6. According to this law, drinking and driving was not allowed to be mixed up, but after its amendment in 1994, an amount up to 30 mg per 100 ml of blood has been permitted to driver. The above law is very much effective if imposed, but it slips off when the hands of the concerned officials are greased.
  7. A drunken driver is a potential murderer as he cannot perform his tasks without risks and endangers road safety. Drunken driving an illegal act should be governed by stern laws which entail not only levying hefty fines or revocation of license, but also prosecution, same as a criminal offense. Usually, driver escape from the scene as the public gets involved in getting the injured hospitalized rather than snitch the drunken driver and teaching him a lesson.
  8. But, contrary to the practice, if we make a commitment to report the incidence to the officials concerned and take a stand against drunk driving, then we may get successful in curbing the menace which has been since centuries a major contributor to the traffic deaths in every, but, the co-relation between alcohol and road safety still remains a matter of more research.
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Road Safety Initiatives

Steps Taken By Ministry:

The Ministry of Road Transportation and Highways (M.O.R.T.H.) is taking a number of steps to remedy the situation. Road safety Cell of the Department of Road Transport and Highways deals with the "National Road Safety Plan". This unit prepares and implements Annual Road Safety Plan". It also compiles road accident data and interacts with the states on the issues of road safety.

Important Schemes administered by Road Safety cell are:
  1. Publicity Programs
  2. Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organizations for organizing road safety programs
  3. National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme
  4. Refresher Training to Heavy Vehicle Drivers in Unorganized Sector
  5. Setting up of Model Driving Training school
  6. Within the M.O.R.T.H.s massive road sector development program, the govt. is working closely with agencies: World Bank, Asian Development Bank to improve road safety.
Steps Taken:

A number have steps have been taken to spread road safety culture across the country.
  1. The most noticeable project under taken by the Indian Government has been the "National Highway Development Program", "Rural Roads Project" under the leadership of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  2. "NGOs" have come up in many cities to deal with this problem at their levels.
  3. "Police Departments" hold road safety weeks, painting competitions.
  4. "Road Safety Cell" of the ministry has also been working closely to strengthen institutions and organizations. They have come up with an awards scheme for awarding organizations/individuals making outstanding contribution in the fields. (
Bodies Involved in Road Safety

The Global Road Safety Partnership (G.R.S.P.)

G.R.S.P. brings together governments and governmental agencies, the private sector and civil society organizations to address road safety issues in low and middle income countries. G.R.S.P. is a hosted program of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (I.F.R.C.), based in Geneva.

Traditionally, road safety has been seen as an unfortunate consequence of a transport system and as a problem for the transport sector. However, the direct costs of the growing number of crashes falls mostly on the health sector, businesses and families. Today it is widely acknowledged that many sectors have a role to play in road safety, especially in the prevention of crashes, deaths and injuries. G.R.S.P. brings together these sectors at the global, national and sometimes local government level. G.R.S.P. provides advice on good practice and facilitates projects in a growing number of countries.

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