In the past decade, over 1 million people have been killed in road crashes in India, with 16 deaths recorded every hour in 2014 alone. Not only does the loss or impairment of a loved one inflict emotional trauma on lakhs of families, it imposes a severe financial burden, pushing thousands into poverty.
The epidemic continues to cause drainage of 3% of India’s GDP every year or INR 3.8 lakh crores. This amounts to 8 times the entire budget of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. These staggering figures compelled the Supreme Court of India to call the problem of road accidents a ‘National Emergency’.
According to World Health Organisation’s Global Status Report for Road Safety, 2,07,551 people were killed in road crashes in India in 2014. This is 46% more than what the Government statistics state for the same period. The report evaluated country specific legislations based on five risk factors: enforcing speed limits, prevention of drunk driving, safety of children, use of seat belts and helmets. As per the report, the current Indian law does not meet the requirements for 4 out of 5 of these factors.
The findings of the report clearly show that the archaic Motor Vehicles Act has failed to address the crucial issues of bad road user behavior, poor enforcement, faulty road and vehicle engineering, and lack of emergency medical care, resulting in the high number of road crash deaths. The current law completely ignores protection of non-motorised road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
India therefore urgently needs a comprehensive Road Safety law that encompasses all aspects of traffic safety and caters to all road users. The government has indeed drafted a new Road Safety Bill but has failed to introduce it in Parliament despite the increasing death toll on India’s roads.
Join us as we urge the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to introduce a strong #RoadSafety Bill in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.
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