A week to learn, to live for years – Road safety week from 4th to 10th February 2019
So many roads. So many detours. So many choices. This is where road safety comes into the picture. Roads which join us together, are unfortunately also responsible for parting ways with our loved ones. In India every year more than 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents and more than 5 lakh are severely injured. Taking road safety as a serious issue, India signed the Brasilia Declaration and committed to reducing road accidents and fatalities by half. But has that helped?
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India will observe 30th Road Safety Week Campaign from 4th to 10th February 2019. The theme for this yearcampaign is “Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha”. Road Safety Week is organized to make people aware of the road safety rules and regulations and urging all the road users - whether pedestrians, drivers or pillion riders to follow the rules.
Present scenario of road safety in India
Annually over 1.5 lakh people lose their lives and another 5 lakhs are seriously injured in road crashes. Road accidents account for more than 44% of all un-natural accidental deaths in India and 51% of all those killed between the ages of 18 and 30 years. In addition to the loss of priceless human life and the emotional trauma suffered by those left behind, the economic hardship borne by the families who often lose the sole bread winner is severe. Those who are injured either suffer lifelong pain or permanent disability. The cost of recovery from an injury - emotional, physical and financial - is very high and takes a toll on the victims, their families and the community. The economic loss from road crashes is estimated at 3% of the GDP or Rs 4 lakh crores annually.
What can be done?
Only a strong legislation can save the precious lives lost in road accident every year. There is an urgent need to pass the long-pending Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017 by the government.
Motor Vehicle Act (Amendment) Bill 2017 is important due to radical changes in a law which is now almost 30 year old. It proposes high penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail for parents of minor drivers causing fatal accidents and a tenfold increase in compensation for families of accident victims.
- For deaths in hit-and-run cases, the government will provide a compensation of Rs 2 lakh or more to the victim's family. Currently, the amount is just Rs 25,000.
- The bill has a provision for protection of Good Samaritans. Those who come forward to help accident victims will be protected from civil or criminal liability.
- The minimum fine for drunk driving has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.
- Talking on a mobile phone while driving will attract a fine of Rs 5,000, up from Rs 1,000.
What should people do
Having a driving license is not enough, every person should be aware about the do’s and don’ts while on road and follow them. Few of them are: -
- Always wear helmet on two wheels
- Always wear seat belt in four wheelers
- Follow the speed limits
- Be courteous toward other drivers
- Give pedestrians the right-of-way in crosswalks
- Pay attention when you are driving, even if you are familiar with the area
- Stop on traffic signal when light is RED
- Always follow traffic rules
- DON'T drink alcohol and drive, and don't get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs
- Don’t try to overtake from the left and without indicators
- DON'T play loud music in the car, it may distract you while driving
- DON'T talk on your cell phone while driving
- DON'T engage in other activities, while driving, that distract your attention or reduce your reaction time. Example eating, talking, typing messages on phone etc.
Action points for all
- Let’s take a pledge to adhere to traffic rules
- Come together to support the passage of MVA Bill 2017 in ongoing Budget session of Parliament
- Follow traffic rules and request others to do so
- Educate others about traffic rules