As India sees a sharp rise in sale of personal vehicles, it is witness to another unfortunate rise, in number of deaths in road mishaps — around 1,05,000 every year, reports World Health Organisation in its report on “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020”.
WHO report claims that all these accidents are primarily due to bad infrastructure and rash driving. As road traffic accidents take the lives of nearly 1.3 million every year, and injure 20-50 million more in the world, India, along with China, is listed among countries with the highest number of deaths.
Breaking road rules, rash driving, and failure to abide by with the set speed limits is a common sight on Indian roads. Most of the drivers do not use seat belts and refuse to wear helmets, thus a minor mishap at times turn ugly and leads to death.
Despite concrete laws and penalty levied on breaking road rules, the number of accidents on Indian roads is increasing with every day. In fact, with latest figures of 1,05,000 annual deaths due to road accidents, India has overtaken China.
Apart from not-obeying road rules, it is observed that a lot of accidents also happen under the influence of alcohol. Youth aged between 15-29 years are the most common culprits as well as victims of such accidents. The report also says that over 90% of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have only 48% of the world's registered vehicles.
The sad part of the story is that the brunt of rash-driving or drunk-driving is faced by pedestrians, cyclists or people traveling in the lighter vehicles. As per WHO around 13% of the victims from road-related deaths are pedestrians in India as compared to 15% from passenger cars and taxis and 27% of riders of motorised two-or-three wheelers.
The road traffic crashes, which cause grief and suffering for the family members of the deceased and injured, also result in economic losses to victims, their families, and nations as a whole, to the tune of 1-3% of their respective gross national product, the report noted.