Many innocent lives perish on the road every day. Indian roads witness accidents every passing hour. As per the reports of the Indian government, India ranks first in the number of road accident deaths across 199 countries and accounts for almost 11% of all accident-related deaths in the world. Accidents on the road occur due to speeding, drunk driving, potholes, carelessness etc. Considering the increasing deaths owing to road accidents, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways came up with a National Road Safety Week to create awareness on road safety.
National Road Safety Week 2022 is celebrated from January 11, 2022, and extends to January 17, 2022. This year marks the 33rd Road Safety Week under the theme 'Sadak Suraksha Jeevan Raksha.' During the week's celebrations, awareness is created using posters, banners, short films on road safety, leaflets distribution etc. Various activities and competitions are also conducted as a part of creating awareness. The usually conducted activities include slogan writing contest, poster making contest, article writing competition on road safety, road safety quiz etc. People participate in it by logging in to the government website.
The Logical Indian is joining hands with the Indian government to spread awareness on road safety by publishing articles related to road safety in the National Road Safety Week beginning today because it has become the need of time considering the number of lives lost every year due to road accidents.
Today, let us look into some of the top-performing countries regarding road safety and the safety measures they follow to protect citizens from road accidents.
Iceland is the safest country in terms of road safety as per the Road Safety Annual Report 2020 by International Transport Forum. The fatality rate on the road per 100,000 population in Iceland is just 1.66, and it is the lowest rate recorded in the report. According to Icelandic law, it is mandatory that everyone in a car wear a seatbelt. The rule does not apply to just the driver or the people sitting in front seats. Children must use safety equipment appropriate to their weight. Driving off-road is not allowed.
Norway is one of the best-performing countries for road safety. As per the annual report, the fatality rate on the road per 100,000 population in Norway is 2.02. Norway adopted the 'Vision Zero' strategy, aiming to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic. Thirteen priority areas, including driving behaviours, vehicle technology, risk groups, etc., are carefully addressed through a fully integrated approach. Target-based progress measurement is done. Road safety risk for different populations is analysed, and targeted safety measures are introduced. All levels of government work together in achieving road safety. Public and private sector organisations are involved in ensuring road safety.
Sweden has paid utmost importance to road safety. As per the annual report, the fatality rate on the road per 100,000 population in Sweden is 2.15. The road traffic safety project Vision Zero started in Sweden in 1997. Sweden established cable guardrails that catch hold of the vehicles that hit on it instead of the conventional guardrails, which deflect the car into the traffic, causing more accidents. Centre guardrails are also established to prevent head-on collisions. Obstacles along the roadside like trees, boulders etc., are removed to make driving a safer experience. Permanent speed surveillance cameras are established since speeding is a major cause of road accident-related deaths. The Swedish Road Administration (SRA) conducts in-depth analysis on the fatal road accidents in Sweden to understand the pattern of accidents, the reason for them to happen and the measures that can be brought about to lower accident risks.
Switzerland reported a significant reduction in the number of road accident-related deaths. As per the annual report, the fatality rate on the road per 100,000 population in Switzerland is 2.18. Between 2000 and 2019, the number of road deaths per 100,000 people decreased by 74%. Organisations like the Fund for Road Safety, the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (BFU) and the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) play a leading role in the country's road safety. Switzerland introduced road safety action programmes and implemented a wide range of safety measures since 2013. When a driver's licence is revoked for excessive speeding, it is revoked for at least two years and ten years to life if the offence is repeated. A fitness to drive test is required for persons convicted of offences such as driving while under the influence of extremely addictive narcotics.
Over the last thirty years, the UK witnessed a decrease in road accident-related casualties. As per the annual report, the fatality rate on the road per 100,000 population in the UK is 2.70. Roads in the UK are engineered with keeping safety in mind. Awareness is created on road safety at the school level. 'Slow Down for Bobby' is a campaign by the Bobby Colleran Trust which encourage drivers to stay below 20mph in the school zone. They are also encouraged to be vigilant around school zones. Driving test in the UK is evolving with time as vehicles, technology and driving conditions change. The UK introduced many more innovative practices to ensure safety to citizens on the road.
All these practices have proven to help reduce the number of road fatality incidents, and the effective adoption of such measures by these countries have made them top-performing when it comes to road safety. These measures can be adopted by other countries as well to ensure citizens' safety and well being.
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