Telangana

WB report flags causes of road crash fatalities in India

Majority of fatalities in road crashes were on national highway. A car that was badly damaged in a road accident on NH-65 near Kattamgur in Nalgonda district.

Majority of fatalities in road crashes were on national highway. A car that was badly damaged in a road accident on NH-65 near Kattamgur in Nalgonda district.   | Photo Credit: Singam Venkataramana

Concern over lack of comprehensive and inclusive approach in road safety management

The World Bank has expressed concern over the lack of comprehensive and inclusive approach in road safety management at national and sub-national levels that are resulting in high annual number of road crash fatalities.

In its recent report “delivering road safety in India: Leadership priorities and initiatives to 2030”, the Bank recalled a World Health Organisation report which said road crash fatalities in the country accounted for 11% of the estimated 1.35 million global toll each year. Vulnerable road users, primarily pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders account for almost 54% of the fatalities and serious injuries.

The report termed the high volume, high-speed roads as dangerous and said national highways that make up just 1.94% of the road network in the country accounted for 35.7% of the crash fatalities. Rural areas accounted for more than 66% of all road deaths. Road users between the ages of 18 and 45 comprised 69% of the fatalities.

Over speeding

The report said more than 36% of all crash fatalities were two-wheeler riders and passengers. Describing speeding as a serious issue, it said 67% of crashes, 64% of fatalities and 67% of serious injuries were attributed to over speeding. “More fundamentally, speed is a crucial contributor to all crash deaths and injuries,” the report said.

Road user compliance with motorcycle helmet and seat belt laws is reportedly low, the bank said quoting a survey which revealed that almost 50% of all two-wheeler drivers and 75% of pillion riders reported that they did not wear helmets. According to another survey, the reported rate of seat belt use among both drivers and other occupants was only 25% and as low as 4% for rear seats. “Enforcement of seat belt use in the rear seat is rare,” the report said.

Though comprehensive laws that address alcohol limits for the general driving population, young or novice drivers and professional and commercial drivers were in place, drink driving continues to be a concern. Overloading of heavy vehicles too was another area of concern accounting for 10% of all reported crashes and 12% of reported fatalities in 2018.

Licencing authorities

Regional Transport Offices which are tasked with the responsibility of issuing drivers’ licenses are being ill equipped in terms of staff and testing facilities to deal effectively and efficiently with growing number of applications for licenses in view of the rapid motorization. Given the staff shortages and the aim to make testing and issuing licenses more objective, almost every State is now setting up automated driver testing tracks. “However, the licensing procedure is not uniform,” the report said.

Agencies responsible for road safety were inadequately empowered and resourced to deal with escalating danger on their roads. “More effective, efficient and scaled-up initiatives are needed,” the report added.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:12:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/wb-report-flags-causes-of-road-crash-fatalities-in-india/article30914301.ece

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