India’s road deaths are no longer accidents — they are a public well being crisis
It’s time to conclude labelling the thousands of deadly incidents that happen on India’s roads as “accidents.” Throughout India, the Nationwide Crime Records Bureau reported over four lakh road “accident” conditions in 2021, with 1.6 lakh fatalities — up by four per cent from 2017. No subject the truth that every of these casualties leaves a human tragedy in its wake, society remains numb and unresponsive. The reality that road deaths are routinely labelled “accidents” contributes to public voice of no process in inequity preventable killer. It carries with it the connotation that they are unavoidable and an accredited price of budge, wherein “accidents honest happen”. But they conclude no longer “honest happen”.
Fortunately, in December and September of 2022, the Maharashtra Motorway Police and the Delhi Traffic Police each and every proved that trade is doable and broke far from this note. In its file, the Delhi Traffic Police well-liked that an “accident” is “an match that happens accidentally or that is with out obvious or deliberate trigger,” and as such, they’re going to retire the observe going forward when discussing road crashes.
This trade reflects a commitment to address crashes no longer as inevitable however as preventable — thanks to evidence-primarily primarily based public well being interventions, corresponding to road redesign with all users in mind and mass media campaigns paired with enforcement efforts.
Proof from areas with sterling road safety files presentations that road deaths may maybe presumably well additionally be prevented by genuine executive action. This involves a comprehensive approach to road safety, at the side of prioritising accessibility over mobility, and walking, cycling, and gleaming urban planning (corresponding to public transport, crosswalks, and bike lanes) over high-tempo riding and vehicle dependency. In varied phrases, low-price, low-tech interventions may maybe presumably well additionally be adopted in every city and voice, so long as there’s political will.
By framing road crashes as “accidents,” americans note crashes with less urgency and affords a establish to for important interventions that can forestall crashes. Rightly using the time period “fracture”, is a commendable step by the Delhi Traffic Police, and it’s miles hoped that others — spanning executive companies, media retail outlets, and the long-established public — will equally apply suit.
In point of truth, this shift has came about sooner than. We hear of “vehicle accidents,” however when was the closing time one heard of a “airplane accident”? The time period “airplane accident” within the aviation replace is a misnomer however it wasn’t always so. The time period was discarded within the first half of of the 20th century as governments compelled the replace to present a establish to safety. Investigators now work to search out out the foundation causes of any airplane fracture, or maybe a advance rush over, and repair in place of dwelling extra stringent safeguards to be definite that future events are prevented. Preventative actions corresponding to safe infrastructure, knowledgeable management by highly trained and professional workers, upkeep of all gear, and strictly followed identical outdated operating procedures all contribute toward making air budge the enviornment’s safest make of transport per kilometre.
We deserve to adopt a identical approach to road budge. To illustrate, thoughtful urban planning and safe road designs that relief low speeds can decrease crashes. Communities which may maybe presumably well be walkable and bikeable, and never more vehicle-dependent have confidence fewer deaths on the road. These are low-price and simple interventions, and to allow them to build lives this day.
Every road fracture is preventable. Proof-primarily primarily based interventions can radically decrease fracture fatalities, and the language worn to describe crashes is excessive in building public ask and political will for these modifications.
Lakhtakia is a retired Indian Police Provider officer and currently Senior Motorway Security Consultant-India, A have to-have confidence Solutions. Ennis is Regional Deputy Director-Asia, A have to-have confidence Solutions