A Road to Safer India


Road safety is an important social issue in India. In India, the annual rate of deaths due to road accidents is over 200,000. With the growth of urbanization, India stands among the top 10 economy in the world. This means the number of imports and exports are increasing steadily every year, a large part of which covers through road transport. As a result, the pressure on roadways is also increasing. While India is expanding its economy through its roadways, this has also resulted in an alarming increase of road accidents.

Usually drunk-driving, driving over speed, road rages are some of the most common reasons for the occurrence of accidents in our country. In a recent survey, it was seen that India has the highest rate of deaths due to road accidents in 2013. A majority of the victims were in the between the age group of 25-45 years. Road safety and following traffic rules are mandatory and unfortunately many people are ignorant about these rules. According to a study made by the World Health Organization, wearing helmets while riding bikes can cut death rates by almost 30% and using seat belts while driving can cut death rates by 50%. Most of the youngsters in our country do not use helmets while riding motorcycles; they are also very casual about maintaining the speed limit. A motorcycle is made accommodate two persons at a time, but there are few people who ride with their family of four which includes children too. The worst part is, these people do not bother for their own safety or for their families. This is a common scenario in India, where four persons are on a motorcycle, with only the rider wearing a helmet and rest all are clinging to him tightly with no other precautions or safety measures. People who drive four-wheelers often cross speed limit, drive recklessly on highways late at night and do not wear seat belts which results in frequent cases of crashes and head on collisions. Availing public transport is also not safe these days. Buses and auto-rickshaws are the most availed public transports on the road. Though the government buses charge less, these buses are not well maintained as the private ones and their conditions are usually dilapidated. Added to this is rash driving, drivers are more interested in overtaking each other on the road and do not focus on safe driving. Added to this are our poorly maintained roads and highways. Together they take away the lives of many innocent people every year.

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As a responsible citizen of this country, I believe, few strict and immediate measures can check road accidents to a great extent. When I am driving on the road, it is not only my responsibility to obey traffic rules and to make sure that I’m safe on the road but I should also keep in mind the safety of other people on the road. Firstly, traffic rules and laws should be a part of the regular curriculum in schools, especially for students of class VIII and above. Minors should not be encouraged about driving, even if they are doing so under the guidance of an adult. Individuals driving under 18 years of age must be penalized and if found guilty of the same offense more than once, they should be punished as per law. Wearing seat belts while driving should be made mandatory and people not doing so must be highly penalized and their driving license must be suspended for six months. Celebrating road safety week once in a year and hosting campaigns on road safety in various governmental and non-governmental organizations can help to spread awareness among the mass. People driving motorcycles should wear helmets and people who cross speed limit or drive recklessly should be punished and their vehicles should be seized immediately. Putting up banners about the importance of road safety and possible punishment on breaking them can be placed near highways or nearby traffic signals. This will grab attention of passers-by and educate them about road rules. Places where there are one-way roads, the chances and occurrence of accidents are comparatively less. Erecting proper road dividers, lighting up the roadsides properly and adding bright signboards can reduce road accidents. In many places the signboards are not well maintained or are missing which again leads to accidents. Last but not the least, since roads are one of the most used means of transport, they should be well maintained for smooth movement of vehicles. The busy roads and highways of metro cities are full of potholes; the condition worsens with the onset of monsoon each year. If our government can take proper measures to maintain these roads, accidents in our country can be reduced by a quarter in next 5 years.

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Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) is a wonderful initiative by the Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. which was started in 2012 to aware people nationwide about the importance of road safety. Through its Blue Citizenship CSR umbrella, NSDF by Nissan encourages drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. Initially it covered three main Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai and since then it has gradually expanded to other cities like Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Kochi. The overall reach has grown effectively and NSDF has reached close to 2 lakhs citizens presently.

 

Images: 1, 2

This post is a part of the contest by Indiblogger in association with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

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