Arindam Nath

1.0     INTRODUCTION:Road accidents are now globally recognized as a serious public health problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year. The problem is much more serious in our country. In the year 2017 close to 5, 00,000 road accidents caused 1,46, 377 deaths in India and more than thrice that number sustained injuries. In our beautiful state of Tripura, Road Traffic Accident is the largest public health and injury prevention problem. We should move along the road in a safe manner, keep ourselves free from harm or injury at the roads. 

2.0     SOME FACTS:

2.1     Research indicates almost half of the road traffic death victims are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The percentage contributions are as under:

Ø  Motorcyclists (23%)

Ø  Pedestrians (22%)

Ø  Cyclists (4%).

2.2     In terms of fatalities, the following are major reasons for accidents: 

Ø  Over-speeding- 41.1%

Ø  Dangerous/Over -taking- 32.2%

Ø  Weather Condition- 4.2%

Ø  Mechanical Faults- 3.1%

Ø  Driving under the influence of drugs/Alcohol- 2.0%

2.3     Deaths by Road user categories:

Ø  Users of 4-wheeled cars/light vehicles – 16%

Ø  Riders of 2 or 3 wheelers- 32%

Ø  Cyclists -5%

Ø  Pedestrian -9%

Ø  Drivers of heavy trucks – 13%

Ø  Drivers of passenger buses -8%

Ø  Others- 17%

2.4     Problem Areas:

Ø  Driver behaviour

Ø  Speeding

Ø  Overloading

Ø  Drunk driving

Ø  Pedestrians

Ø  Un-roadworthy vehicles

Ø  Road Network issues

Ø  Mixed or Combination of few factors above

2.5     Noteworthy:

Ø  Wearing a good quality motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death by 40% and severe head injury by >70%.

Ø  Using a mobile phone while driving is twice as dangerous as drinking to the legal limit and texting/messaging is  8 times as dangerous.

Ø  A seat-belt reduces the risk of death for front-seat passengers up to 65% and for the rear-seat by <75%. Child/booster seats reduce deaths of infants by <70%

Ø  Urban speed limits should not exceed 50 km/h and local authorities should be able to reduce speed where necessary.


3.0     REMEDIES: It is very important for us to follow the road safety rules. We need to follow certain rules to stay safe on the roads. These are called Road Safety Rules. The following five Pillars of the United Nations Decade of Action should be followed in letter and spirit.

3.1     Road safety management:  We should strengthen our institutional capacity, set realistic and long-term targets and develop data systems.

3.2     Safer roads and mobility: Our emphasis should be on improving safety-conscious planning, design, construction of roads, apart from assessment of regular safety of roads and exploring various forms of transport and safe infrastructure.

3.3     Safer vehicles : We should always encourage newer and safer technologies in road transport.

3.4     Safer road users: The provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 should be amended and made stringent wherever necessary. It should be a model road safety legislation covering issues like sustained increase of enforcement, promoting public awareness of risk factors and call for activities to reduce work-related road traffic injuries. 


3.5     Post-crash response: It includes developing pre-hospital care systems, introduction of Toll-free nationwide emergency telephone number, early rehabilitation and support to injured patients and those bereaved by road traffic crashes, establishing insurance schemes and Investigation of crashes and provide legal response.


4.0     Conclusions: Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing there will be no results.’  Whenever taking actions in respect of Road Safety arises we should adhere to the Five ‘E’s:

Engineering: Road engineering should be our top-most priority. The roads should be worthy for traffic with proper footpaths, over-bridge, subways for pedestrians. There should be adequate parking facilities. The gradients of the road for negotiating blind curves on hilly roads should be addressed. More and more electronic traffic signals and CC camera should be installed.

Education: Generation of Road Safety awareness and educating people, particularly children shall help in addressing the problem. The people should be taught about their civil responsibility and the trend of parking vehicles/bikes here and there should be stopped. Driving license should be given after proper education and training and the efficiency should be re-judged periodically.

Enforcement: Police enforcement drive is still one of the major contributory factors as far as reduction of road traffic accident is concerned. Maximum emphasis should be given on checking Helmetless driving, Drunk Driving, over-speeding, over-loading, distraction etc.

Emergency Response: Immediate response after accidents and shifting of injured on emergent basis save many lives.

Evaluation: Always we should make evaluation of road traffic accidents to prevent recurrence. It is also the recent directive of Hon’ble Supreme Court.


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