“We don’t take our lives into our own hands, we put them into yours. BE A RESPONSIBLE DRIVER. ” These were the exact lines that made me slump down my car speed as I was woken up from my dreamland into harsh reality.
Being a proud denizen of India makes it quite tough to accept that India is considered to be one of the most dangerous Countries to drive in.
The statistics of 2007 claims that over 1, 30,000 people passed away due to road accidents that have reached its peak in India. The bar reached another height in 2013 with a score of 1, 37,000 deaths owing to road accidents. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) corroborated the fact that on an average, India witnesses around 1, 35,000 traffic collision-related deaths every year. With all these, the frequency of traffic related collisions in India is marked amongst the highest in the world.
There are several facts that we need to glance through before we get into depth about the road traffic and safety conditions in India.
- One major road accident occurs every minute in some part or the other in India.
- On an average, 16 people die every hour due to road accidents in India.
- Two wheelers constitute about 25% of the total road accidents.
- Five lives are put at stake due to road accidents every day in Delhi, the capital of India.
- 16 children die every day on Indian roads.
- Of all the cases of road accidents, a majority of them are a consequence of drunk driving.
What makes traffic?
Traffic basically constitutes pedestrians, cars, buses, public vehicles, two-wheelers and other conveyances that we have access to as a mode of transportation. Added to that, herds of animals on busy roads are a common scenario on Indian roads. So, all of it put together makes traffic in India.
Who administers traffic?
Traffic is generally administered by authorized jurisdictions that are entitled to organize and look after the road traffic and safety.
How is traffic organized?
Roadways are generally sectioned into several divisions in the form of lanes, intersections, junctions, traffic signals, etc. Each of these divisions is allotted a particular speed limit depending upon the volatility of the area. Basing on the severity, certain rules are set for certain areas while the minor areas are left to be taken care of by the driver’s common sense and ability to drive.
Few of the cities in India that are ranked to be the most vulnerable to road accidents and poor traffic are:
- New Delhi
Road traffic in Bangalore/Bengaluru
When it comes to road traffic, this city is awarded as the 6th worst city in the world for commuting. With booming industries and population seeking opportunities in this city, the traffic conditions have worsened with each passing day.
A thorough survey of the traffic of Bengaluru tells a lot about the areas Karnataka government needs to work on. Following are a few facts about Bengaluru traffic:
- Within a span of eight months, till August 2011, Bangalore’s traffic police booked over 4 lakh cases of unauthorized or illegal parking cases of vehicles (both two wheelers and four wheelers).
- Wrong parking in Bangalore is a result of lack of parking spaces.
- Bangalore has the poorest road length per square Kilometer.
- With the increase in population in the city, the width of the roads is too narrow.
- It is estimated that by the time Metro Phase I will be fully commissioned, the traffic will increase further.
Role of the government
The ministry of road transport and the highway is the senior most authority to formulate and regulate the guidelines for road traffic and safety. The ministry has two important wings under it:
- The road wing
- The transport wing
The road wing looks after the development and maintenance of the national highway, extends financial as well as technical support to the state government for the development of roads in their respective states, sets standards for construction of roads, highways and bridges.
The transportation wing takes care of the legislation and taxation of motor vehicles, promotion of transport co-operatives, setting national road safety standards and providing grants to NGOs as per the laid guidelines.
There are several acts adopted by the government to ensure road safety:
- The road transport corporations act, 1950
- The national highway act, 1956
- The motor vehicles act, 1988
- The national highways authority act, 1988
The road transport and safety Bill 2014 should provide a blueprint for a safe, fast, cost effective and inclusive commuting of passengers in India. In July 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured to work efficiently in areas of road and traffic in India.
The Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is an initiative in the same direction with a goal of developing roadways in rural areas. The construction of rural roads project is another similar initiative to promote rural roads construction.
Major reasons that lead to road accidents and increased traffic
- Drunk driving
- Lack of respect for traffic rules
- Breakdown of traffic organization
- Poor administration
- Traffic congestion and gridlock formation
Role of the Citizen
Long story short, the chaotic traffic is an outcome of the hurried, careless citizen of the same society that faces outrage and anxiety every day because of the traffic and accidents prevailing these days. So to curb this from the core, it is the citizen who needs to understand the scenario, take responsibility for it and behave like a responsible individual.
- Avoiding drunk driving
- Following the guidelines established by the administration
- Abiding by the traffic rules
- Keeping calm and being empathetic about everybody’s situation that is stuck amidst the traffic.
- Accepting the fact that there is no cause more precious than one’s own life.
Basic etiquettes to follow in road traffic
- Distracted driving is a big NO: using hand engaging equipments, shaving, changing outfits, applying makeup, chatting and trying to have access to items kept at a distance are not recommended to do while driving. These are extremely distracting and hence can lead to accidents.
- Avoid sharp turn: These have always been a reason for major accidents. Give proper indications to other vehicles on the road and then go for a turn.
- Monitor your speed: Always maintain the guided speed limit and do not try to go beyond that.
- Let other vehicles enter and exit safely at the freeway ramp: The freeway ramp is the place where you can find vehicles merging into the traffic from. Allow other drivers enough space to merge into the traffic safely. This not only avoids potential accidents but also looks courteous.
- Follow the concept of safe following distance: Always maintain a safe 3-5 seconds distance from the vehicles ahead. This proves to keep you safe in case of instantaneous brakes and halts.
All this while, placards, banners and slogans have played an integral role in spreading awareness and making the public realise the worth of their life as well as others. With better administration and an improved set of guidelines representing the Indian traffic rules, we hope to become a well-developed country in terms of road traffic too.
Be aware, Drive safe!