Safe Conduct


Road accidents are a leading cause of death and injury worldwide. In South Asia along, road traffic fatalities are expected to increase from 135,000 in 2000 to 330,000 in 2020. That’s a 144 percent increase in deaths from road crashes, every year about 1.3 million people are killed and 50 million injured in road accidents, about 90 percent of these casualties occur in low and middle-income countries, as highlighted in the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, jointly issued by the World Health Organization and the World Bank,2004.

According to that report, road accidents kill over 13 people in India every hour; the country reports the highest road fatalities in the world. In 2007, 114,590 were killed in road accidents alone. India’s roads account for more deaths than any other single cause, from terrorism to natural disasters. Every 10th person who dies in road accidents is an Indian. Majority of fatalities are the soul earning members of their families, 85% are male, and 70% are in the working age between 30-59years.

This informs us, that the road fatalities in India have been rising at the rate of 8% every year.

Many of the fatalities in road accidents are simply (i) trying to cross to the other side in the absence of over bridge; (ii) reluctance to use a foot over bridge for a number of reasons, even it available; (iii) absence of adequate traffic signal facilities; (iv) ignoring traffic signals ; (v) over taking each other, over the top “honking” and lack of civic behavior .

Further, according to planning commission of India, every causality, there are 15 life altering injuries. Similarly to the road accident, according to the Central Pollution Control Board, Government of India, 72% of the total ambient air pollution in major cities is contributed by the vehicular pollution.  A World Bank study informs that during 1975–2005 the Indian economy grew by 2.5 times, but vehicle pollution load by 7.5 times. The study laments that Indians are spending approximately 01 billion US$ every year on treatment of diseases caused by ambient air pollution.

Apart from infrastructural limitations, policy lapses, absence of culture of safety is attributed to be major factor for unabated road accidents. Ignorance of traffic systems, indifference, insensitivity, inability to perceive risk, alcoholism behavioral aspects, are some of major contributors to the increasing disasters on the roads.

A study conducted by St. John’s Medical College Hospital (Bangalore, India) in 2008, reveals that alcoholics tend to indulge in several high risk behaviors, most common and most frequent among them was indulging risky driving and causing traffic hazards and accidents. Several other studies have also shown that people most at risk are often pedestrians.

Key Message: In this increasingly motorized world, ignorance and indifferent to the road safety practices can prove to be fatal. Don’t wait until you are personally affected. Adapt a culture of road safety right away.

Disclaimer: This article is a reflection of author’s personal thoughts, and all rights reserved by SAFE CITIZEN.ORG

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