Policies and Practices

World wide  free trade and economic reforms have contributed to increasing investments and infrastructure. New jobs and high salaries have enabled people to buy cars and increase their movement on the roads. There has also been a parallel increase in deaths and injuries on the roads. A study conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) on Global Burden of Diseases showed that in 1990, out of 10 causes of death and injuries road crashes were ninth on the list.

The WHO study forecasted that for 2020 road deaths are going increase to one and half a million per year and road crashes are expected to move up to third place in terms of disability adjusted life years. (DALYs). The DALY is an indicator of the time lost by an individual in living with a disability and the time lost due to premature death. The study also estimated that in the absence of suitable preventive policies and preventive practices, the total number of road trafic deaths and injuries worldwide is forecast to rise by some 65% between 2000 and 2020 and in low-income and middle-income countries the deaths are expected to increase by as much as 80%.  India, particularly shows ana alarming picture with greatest number of accidental deaths due to road accidents (34 percent) followed by railroad and other railway-related accidents (8 percent).

Further,  India faces more than double the current roadway accidents when compared to the United States, whereas the roadway length in India is about half of that in the United States. India’s road safety is marred by In adequate regulations and policies, lack of implementation of existing rules, lack of public participation in framing and absence of efforts to create public awareness on the traffic laws and absence of regulatory mechanism to check pollution, rash driving and inferior quality of road infrastructure. Several studies have shown that the factors responsible for reducing road accidents in several developed countries include, A political commitment to deal with road accidents, an effective strategy of community participation, education, engineering and enforcement to deal with accidents and most importantly, Institutional co-ordination within and between different levels of government and with private actors

 Key Lesson: Its not wise to leave your safety on the road to your rulers and administrators. Road safety is ensured by your own conduct on the road and by using community and collective power to coerce the administration in to adapting stricter laws for road safety and implementing them with out failure. 

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