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How Safe Are Indian Roads? Here’s How We Can Make Them Safer

Nitin Gadkari launched a road safety data dashboard for the city of Gurugram.

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How Safe Are Indian Roads? Here’s How We Can Make Them Safer
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India’s road safety is the worst on record. Around 149,000 people lost their lives on Indian roads in 2018 alone, as per the WHO Global Report on Road Safety 2018. India accounts for only 2% of motor vehicles globally, yet it’s responsible for more than 11% of road traffic deaths. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways 2016 report, Haryana had one of the highest fatality per capita in road accidents with an average of 43 fatalities in every 100 accidents.

With a vision to improve road safety and reduce road traffic fatalities in Gurugram, Haryana, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), announced the launch of the #SaferRoadsForGurugram initiative in 2018 . It brought together government, industry associations, academia, research, NGOs and corporates to tackle road safety in India with an initial focus on Gurugram.

SRFG has garnered multiple achievements since its inception. It organised vision screening and health check-ups for about 500 drivers during Road Safety Week last year. In addition to that, the initiative successfully organised a public-facing event to engage policymakers and secured permissions to implement road safety measures at multiple locations.

On December 3, SRFG hosted the 'SaferRoadsforSaferLives’ initiative in association with The Quint. The Minister of Road Transport and Highways, government of India, Nitin Gadkari launched a road safety data dashboard for the city of Gurugram at the event. The dashboard uses FIR (First Information Report) data collected by the Traffic Police of Haryana from the last four years and indicates major factors causing road accidents in the states.

Ben Verhaert, President (South Asia), Anheuser-Busch InBev, with Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, at the launch of SRFG dashboard.
(Photo Source: The Quint)

What were the findings?

The analysis shows that the distribution of road accidental deaths and injuries varies according to age, gender, month and time. Among people of all age groups, people of economically active age group of 20-29 years are the most vulnerable. The analysis found that the males accounted for 86.4% of accidents in the last four years.

Moreover, between 2016-19, road accidents are relatively higher between May-July and January which shows that extreme weather influences the occurrence of road accidents. Accidents remained relatively constant and high during 12 AM – 5:59 AM but low during 6 AM to 5:59 PM during the same period.

The study also tried to find cause-wise distribution of road accidents. There are several factors responsible for these accidents, but human error remains at top - over-speeding accounted for 41.4% of total accidents in the period between 2016 and 2019.

What’s the way forward?

Since the risk of incurring injury in an accident is largely predictable, road accidents are, more often than not, preventable. The most effective way to reduce fatalities and injuries would be through an integrated approach involving close collaboration of many sectors. Initiatives like Safer Roads for Gurugram led by AB InBev are the step in the right direction in this regard.

The dashboard launched by SRFG has been designed to help decode the accidents data on the roads of Haryana. The information comes in two ways – through charts, facts and figures as well as through a blackspot mapper, which shows the location of the accidents. This dashboard will help implement appropriate measures to accelerate the progress towards safer roads.

The strategies required to reduce accidents should be based on working on factors that act as roadblocks to road safety.

The report by CSIR- Central Road Research Institute, made on account of AB InBev’s SRFG initiative, suggests the following recommendations to enhance road safety in Gurugram:

1. Providing good road surface (and infrastructure) and improving road hump designs

2. Improving all intersections

3. Install new visual aids - road appropriate signs, flashing signals, retro-reflective markers, delineators, chevron markings, chevron signs at curves and road markings such as lane marking, pavement marking, object marking, zebra crossings etc.

In addition to this, the dashboard shows that over-speeding is the biggest contributor to accidents and marks NH-8, Sohna and Pataudi Road as the top black-spots in Gurugram. Here’s how we can tackle these issues:

1. Strict enforcement and implementation of speed limits on highways and city roads

2. Improving driver training and testing facilities and starting initiatives to educate people on safe driving

3. Bettering enforcement of traffic law and increasing severity of penalties for infringement

SFRG’s dashboard, which is based on data collected over four years, can, thus, help identify key areas that need to be focused on to ensure road safety. The dashboard becomes a powerful tool to help achieve the goal of making our roads safer. Click here to see the dashboard.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  accidents   Gurgaon   Traffic 

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