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More fatalities likely among poor victims of road crashes: World Bank report

There are more fatalities from road crashes among poor families rather than the rich shows a new World Bank study that highlights the socio-economic impact of road accidents — from access to post-accident medical care to coping with the financial distress caused by a mishap.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

There are more fatalities from road crashes among poor families rather than the rich shows a new World Bank study that highlights the socio-economic impact of road accidents — from access to post-accident medical care to coping with the financial distress caused by a mishap.

In the study, low income households reported twice the numbers of deaths post-crash vis-à-vis high income households. The risk of a victim undergoing disability after a crash was also two times more likely among poor families.

Road accidents also led to a sharper decline in total household income among low-income households, where it was as high as 75%, as compared to high income households, where the decrease was by 54%, underlining poor access to insurance schemes among the less privileged. However, on comparison of the monthly household income and financial losses due to road crashes, it was found that the loss among poor victims was equivalent to about 7.6 months’ household income while among the richer survivors it was equivalent to less than one month’s household income

There is also a rural-urban divide — the severe impact of decline in income was highest among poor households in rural areas (56%) compared to those in urban areas (29.5%).

The report titled “Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society,” is brought out by the World Bank in collaboration with SaveLIFE Foundation. The data was collected from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra — a State each from northern, southern, western and eastern regions. While Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu represent higher economic growth and better performance in Human Development indicators, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar represent higher poverty rates and low levels of social and administrative progress.

A total number of 2,499 interviews were conducted, which included 1,647 low income households, 432 high income households and 420 truck drivers.

There is also an asymmetry in insurance coverage — one fourth of respondents from high income households (24%) said that they received compensation of about ₹1,62,562 from insurance companies (including vehicle/ medical/ life insurance, etc.), whereas only 14% of poorer respondents said they received an average compensation of ₹89,215.

Only a fifth and two-fifths of truck drivers surveyed were covered under medical insurance and life insurance, respectively, at the time of the crash. Overall, two-thirds of truck drivers were not aware of third-party liability insurance. None of the drivers had benefited from cashless treatment at the hospitals, or ex-gratia schemes.

“The findings of the report identify the areas that require immediate improvements such as efforts towards post-crash emergency care and protocols, insurance and compensation systems. It also presents an opportunity for development agencies, policymakers and respective State governments to prioritise a complete policy overhaul of the existing system and implement sustainable, solution-oriented, inclusive measures to improve their performance on road safety,” said Piyush Tewari, CEO and founder of SaveLIFE Foundation.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 3:49:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/more-fatalities-likely-among-poor-victims-of-road-crashes-world-bank-report/article33831371.ece

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