Indian cities are becoming increasingly unfriendly to pedestrians. There are too many road accidents, resulting in loss of life and limb on a large scale. India has one of the highest road accident rates in the world. Some 1,30,000 people lose their lives in a year, while another 5,00,000 or so are injured in road accidents.
Out of the estimated 1.4 million serious road accidents/collisions occurring annually in India, hardly 0.4 million are recorded. Further, only a minimal percentage of these collisions are scientifically investigated, in the absence of which, the real causes and consequences are never known. Therefore remedial measures as well as punishment for the violators are also arbitrary. On account of various political and socio-economic conditions, generally, the larger vehicles are often labeled the culprit in cases of vehicle-to-vehicle crashes. Road, safety can only be improved, when we understand the causes and consequences of road accidents/collisions so as to work out remedial measures.
IRTE has taken the initiative to set up the first Collision Investigation & Research Cell (CIRC) at Delhi in collaboration with Dr. Steffan Datatechnik, Austria and VIA, the Netherlands. CIRC offers its services to Police Training Schools, Colleges and Academies, to train Police personnel into becoming Collision Investigators. CIRC support is also provided to civic and road maintenance agencies in road safety audit based upon the assessment of cause of road collisions.
The AIRC has already conducted landmark cases in collision investigation and reconstruction across India. Using these case studies, courses for police personnel in different states including Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Delhi as well as at the National Police Academy at Hyderabad have been conducted, to scientifically research the causes and consequences of road collisions as well as prepare effective systems for their analyzes, in order to provide remedial measures.
The basic idea to devise rules is to make the traffic more organized. These establish a direct contact with the driver and help in making the ride easy and controlled, by delivering information which complements the laws, guiding directions, speed limits and parking zones. All these efforts collectively assure that traffic is orderly and safe. An organized traffic has well established priorities, lanes flowing in particular directions. The benefit is that, it reduces the travel time. Some rules and regulations have been formulated for easy driving. The drivers are not allowed to drive without a few documents. These documents should be produced on demand.
But does the government care? Is it an aggressive issue in their road and highway building strategy and process to reduce RTAs? The automobile industry is booming, with India becoming the sixth largest motor vehicle/car manufacturer in the world in 2010 and is expected to rise to the fourth position by 2014. Sure, this is a clear indication of India becoming a developed nation, but on the other hand, if we do not review our public transport system and reduce the traffic on roads, we would be way down on the international scenario. So, to me, it seems like a lopsided economy favoring the industry, which I have nothing against as long as the economy favors social growth as much.
India spends about 6% of its GDP on the health care of its people. It may sound good, but considering India has the second highest population in the world, the per capita expense is very low. The state of trauma care in government hospitals in our country could not get worse. To say that the severity of my disability and the death of my husband are a direct outcome of the horrible attitudes of the doctors where all patients are like guinea pigs and of the non-existent nursing care in government hospital where one is taken to after the accident. Remember, most often, one is in no state after an accident to take decisions, therefore being taken to a government hospital is an automatic process.
Cost of private health care is soaring high. Considering that the government doesn’t have adequate infrastructure to cope with the national health care needs, then how can they allow private health care to become so expensive. What right does the government have to levy such high taxes on private healthcare services is a question.
Let’s face it. Road traffic accidents in India are a high probability. The need of the hour is that, both the society as well s the government have to take cognizance of the high number of accidents happening in India and work towards reducing them and improving trauma health care.