Being witness to suffering of accident victims for years together is a gut-wrenching experience. The suffering of victims is not theirs alone but that of the entire family. Whether it is untimely death of a young son/daughter or permanent disability it is the family that bears the brunt.
What is the role of individuals in saving themselves from falling prey to accidents?
It’s of paramount importance that individuals understand the gravity of accidents and show an acute sense of awareness and voluntary action to prevent accidents, says T. Srinivasa Rao, orthopaedic at KGH and assistant professor, Andhra Medical College.
In a career spanning 13 years he has watched death of accident victims within minutes of being brought to the casualty ward of KGH. “Parents accompany their grievously injured children in a state of shock and when the unthinkable happens they sometimes collapse there,” he says.
Not content with performing his duty, he thought he should contribute in his own way to creating awareness on the vast potential for prevention and the follies that lead to an accident. The two-wheeler drivers are paying a heavy price. In his study “Road traffic accidents- two-wheeler accidents in particular, statistical analysis and multi-directional preventive approach” he came out with interesting findings. He recorded that between 2005 and 2009, two-wheelers were involved in 32 per cent of accidents accounting for 35.4 per cent of victims with 35.6 per cent in 18-30 years age group. While 20 per cent are fatal, 56 per cent account for grievous injuries.
Analysing the reasons, Dr. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu the most common cause for accidents is speed. One should avoid starting in the nick of time simply believing that they can reach destination in five or 10 minutes. If one plans sufficiently in advance even at 40 kmph one can reach his destination. More importantly, motorcycles display a maximum speed of 140/160 km and cars 180/200 km. It is like giving official sanction for speed spurring the youth. Besides where is the rationale for allowing sports bikes on narrow roads with hardly any lane discipline, he asks.
Role of parents
Parents are allowing minors to drive two-wheelers unaware of the lure of speed and the mistakes that they are likely to commit, Dr. Srinivasa Rao cautions them.
Another reason is not wearing helmet/seat-belt. Statistics say that there is 37 per cent less risk for those wearing helmet, points out the doctor. Those not wearing helmets cite reasons like hair losing shape, sweating and not being able to hear other sounds. “But is not life more valuable than all these?” he asks. While simply to avoid paying fine people use them in the city they do away with them on the outskirts where they are more likely to speed up and meet with an accident, he observes.
The growing prevalence of using mobile while driving has become fatally imitative ignoring the dangers involved. Apart from the lack of concentration while speaking what he/she hears from the other side may result in 90 per cent lack of attention resulting in an accident, Dr. Srinivasa Rao points out.
Another factor contributing to a large measure is driving drunk. Because of the macho factor that one can control oneself after drinking is also leading to driving under the influence of alcohol.