The unstoppable rise of road accidents

65Whenever some VIP dies in road accident, discussions take place on various media channels; when hundreds of common people die every day we pay no heed. The World Health Organization has revealed in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. Calling road fatalities an “epidemic” that will become the world’s fifth biggest killer by 2030. The statistics for India are frightening. At least 15 people die every hour in road accidents in the country.

Road transport in India is popular than other transportations. The exponential growth of vehicles on the roads has worsened its conditions especially in cities. For inexcusable reasons, the rate of road-accidents and fatality in the country is on a steady rise. Travelling by road provides a lot of flexibility, suitability, speed and consistency; particularly at short distances in cities and towns. Therefore, it is the most preferred medium of transport. But, there is a severe parity between the growth of vehicles and maintenance of roads; especially in cities. Everyone is in a hurry; everyone wants to overtake at any cost.

Let me list some of the reasons for the rising accident rate:Drunk driver

  • Lack of road sense of the drivers
  • Driving licenses are given illegally
  • Lane discipline is totally missing
  • Traffic rules and regulations not followed; it’s become a fashion
  • Conditions of vehicles not checked on a regular basis
  • Overloading of passengers and goods is very widespread
  • Unmanned railway crossing most hazardous
  • Multiplicity of authorities causes utter lack of coordination
  • Talking on mobiles while driving
  • Drug abuse is on rampant among drivers

The account of neglected roads is pathetic. In the first Five years Plan the outlay was 6.9 per cent of total expenditure which got declined to 3 per cent by the Eighth Plan. The neglected and poorly maintained roads give up tolerance of too much load on them. About 2 lac lives are lost every year in road accidents. Moreover, there are about 55 vehicles of different sizes and styles, both slow and fast moving which hinders the smooth flow of traffic.

A bursting family of wife, husband with their 2-3 children riding a two-wheeler is a common scene on roads. Young romantic67 couple driving in zigzag fashion is also not uncommon, young lads of rich parents brashly driving their sporting cars and motorcycles showing off their purchasing power are familiar scenes.

In rainy season the roads become dreadful; numerous potholes and street drainage add to worsening it further. The pavements on both sides of the road are encroached by street shops, khokas, dhabas, workshops etc. adding to congestion and reduce the valuable road space.

Can some price be calculated for the value of human life??  Are we so insensible to the mishaps and transgression on the roads? If we are truly principled and have little realization left in us let’s take some preventive measures without delay.

Danger never takes a vacation.

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