© Harish Jharia
In recent surveys, India has emerges as the most vulnerable country in respect of death tolls in road accidents. It is revealed from the statistics that 14 Indians died every hour in road accidents in the year 2009 and the annual death toll in road accidents in India is the whooping number of 135,000 deaths of humans in a year.
It looks as if human life has no worth in India because 14 deaths per hour looks like a massacre and not accidental deaths. But this is a fact that it happens out of accidents in India.
Such a high toll of human lives in road accidents raises questions in our minds as to…
Why only India and not America or Russia earned this horrific global distinction?
What are the factors responsible for such a high scale loss of lives in India?
Who should be held responsible for this indiscriminate human slaughter in this country?
The simple answer to these questions is that the system, the culture and the people of India are responsible for these unbelievable human killings in road accidents. Let us discuss these three factors individually:
The System: The system means the government and the authorities under the control of the governments should be held responsible for these deaths. The central (federal) government, the state governments, the highways / roads authorities and the respective police forces are responsible, at the first place, for their gross negligence and for failing to provide the basic facilities of road management and protecting the lives of the road-users in common public areas. Let us list out some crucial points:
- The governmental authorities have not developed adequate infrastructures like broad roads, one-way roads, flyovers, walkovers, subways etc, for sustaining the huge traffic on the roads, well before permitting the automobile industries and automobile dealers to manufacture and sell billions of cars, bikes, scooters, buses, trucks, tankers in India.
- The authorities have not provided adequate traffic lights, on the intersections and road-crossings.
- The authorities do not provide adequate police personnel on the road crossings and along the roads for guiding and controlling the road traffic.
- The authorities have not made any training programs, workshops or refreshers’ courses for drivers, pedestrians and other road users for educating them about road safety and traffic rules.
- The authorities do not plan and implement any precautionary measure for avoiding probable road accidents.
- There is no meaning of one-way-roads in India because people use both the ‘to-and-fro’ roads independently and there is nobody to stop them from doing so.
- You will have to be watchful and careful while driving along a road divider, because, pedestrians might jump across the 3-4 feet high road divider and appear right in front of your car.
- You should be watchful and careful with other drivers who might appear right in front of your car from right, left or center.
- Blowing horn or honking loud might not deter some particular pedestrians because; their ears might be plugged with earphones blaring with yet louder music from their mobile phones.
- Indian roads are indiscriminately open for bicycle riders and cycle-rickshaws, those never follow any traffic rules and do not stop at red traffic lights.
- Motorbike riders and auto rickshaw drivers are the other law breakers those do not follow traffic rules and create problems for other road users.
- The most dangerous entities among Indian road users are the commercial vehicles like taxis school buses, city buses, trucks, tankers and tractors. The commercial automobile drivers drive rash and commit the maximum road traffic crimes.
- To know how the common people are responsible for road accidents, an advertisement of CEAT Bike Tires with the title “The streets are filled with idiots” conveys a clear message. Pleas click on the title and watch the commercial video on YouTube.
- We, as pedestrians and bicycle riders, break traffic rules the most and become the worst sufferers of road accident deaths. Therefore, we will have to follow all the traffic rules while walking on the roads or riding bicycles.
- We should not drive vehicles under intoxication.
- We should not use mobile phones while driving.
- We should not eat breakfast while driving.
- We should not let our minor children (without driving license) drive automobiles.
- We should follow all the traffic rules and drive vehicles with patience.
- We should not lose our temper out of road rage while driving.
- We should ensure that the steering, accelerator, brake and clutch of our vehicle are in perfect working condition.
- We should ensure that the front wheels of our car are balanced by an expert technician.