The sad truth: India now tops in global road accident fatalities
India is emerging as a major automobile market. While we celebrate this fact, we need to understand that it comes attached to a sad reality. India accounts for 10 per cent of all road accident deaths around the globe
India is emerging as a major automobile market. While we celebrate this fact, we need to understand that it comes attached to a sad reality. India accounts for 10 per cent of all road accident deaths around the globe. In a year, about 1.46 lakh people lose their lives in automotive accidents in India – the highest in the world. In 2015, about 1,46,133 people lost their lives in 5,01,423 reported road accidents, while many others go unreported. These figures alone mark an increase of almost 5 per cent from the figures of 2014. Apart from these, another 5,00,000 were injured in 2015, as per data released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). What's important to note is that India accounts for less than 3 per cent of the world’s vehicles, but contributes more than 10 per cent to the world’s road deaths!
These figures send a chill down our spine. Despite strict action by the government, these figures keep increasing. The International Road Federation (IRF) is marking November 20, 2016, as the World Day Of Remembrance For Road Crash Victims. To honour this day, the organisation wants us to remember the many millions killed and gravely injured or permanently disabled on the world’s roads, together with their traumatised families, friends and well-wishers who have to bear the emotional and financial burden of the loss.
To battle the growing bleakness of the Indian traffic situation, the government has introduced a Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 which aims to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities by up to 50 per cent in the next five years. This is pegged to be achieved by imposing hefty penalties – have seen a hike of up to 10 times – along with the prospect of some serious jail time.
Mr K.K. Kapila, chairman, Geneva-based International Road Federation,(IRF), while welcoming the efforts of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), said, “The amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) intended to check drunken driving, use of mobile phone and over speeding through suitable penalties will go a long way in addressing the issue of road accidents. The efforts to fast track setting up trauma centres/facilities across the country by the Ministry of Health will complement the efforts of the MoRTH.”
The alarming road accident figures affect each and every one of us. Not only are they our harsh reality but also a blot on the nation’s reputation. It’s high time that each citizen country considered fighting these numbers and making our roads safer his/her duty. So next time we are on the roads, let's pledge to drive safely, gently and responsibility.
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