Surviving Indian roads: The drive towards a safer journey
A multi-dimensional approach that encompasses education, engineering, evaluation, enforcement, as well as emergency care is required to improve the present state of road safety in India.
Road safety is a topic of big concern in India where despite rapid ongoing improvements in road infrastructure, the number of accidents and fatalities continue to rise. As per the latest report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the country reported more than four lakh accidents, which killed over 1,50,000 people on its roads in CY21.
Worryingly, the number of fatalities registered a 16 percent growth compared to the previous year and have been steadily rising over the last five years. The key factors contributing to this issue include inadequate road infrastructure, reckless driving behaviour, noncompliance with traffic regulations, lack of pedestrian safety measures, and insufficient emergency response systems, which lead to loss of innocent lives year after year.
The MoRTH Road Accidents in India 2021 report also suggests that the worst affected by this epidemic fall in the 18-45-year age bracket, indicating that lack of driver education and improper driving behaviour remain the fundamental challenges when it comes to the poor state of road safety in India, which is now the most-populated country in the world, and reigns when it comes to the quantum of road fatalities among al l nations.
Addressing the road safety issue requires a comprehensive approach that combines improved infrastructure, enhanced enforcement, public awareness campaigns, as well as stricter regulations, and according to the United Nations Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety — 2021-2030 — the target is to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50 percent the world over by 2030 by considering all aspects of the global transportation system. A ‘5E-philosophy’ that incorporates education, engineering, evaluation, enforcement, and emergency care, is key to the safety of all road users.
While the seventh edition of the United Nations Global Road Safety Week was celebrated between May 15 and 21, and stressed the importance of road safety for transportation to become more sustainable, Autocar Professional also organised its annual event — Road Safety Conclave — that aimed at spreading awareness on road safety by striking insightful conversations with automotive industry leaders and experts, as well as deriving solutions aimed to enhance safety of vehicles, motorists, and pedestrians on our roads.
The two-day virtual event which was organised on May 17 and 18 by this publication, saw top executives from global automotive manufacturers, component suppliers, technology providers, as well as independent organisations, and authorities, participate to discuss the key aspects of road safety from a multi-dimensional perspective. The forum also emerged to facilitate networking between relevant stakeholders to adopt a collaborative approach to enhance the road safety standards in India.
The next few pages of this edition focus on the key messages of the multiple discussions and interview sessions at the Autocar Professional Road Safety Conclave which focused on highlighting measures that India can take to make significant strides towards reducing road accidents, saving lives, and ensuring safer journeys and well-being for all stakeholders.
This feature was first published in Autocar Professional's June 1, 2023 issue.
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