NEW DELHI: Trade union minister Nitin Gadkari described the traffic accident scenario in India as “more dangerous than the COVID-19 pandemic” and said on Saturday that preventing deaths and reducing injuries to smaller people would save 90 lakh in such incidents could be achieved per person.
The minister stressed that the cost of an accident is a huge burden on society and the nation and the estimated cost of death in a road accident is 91.16 rupees.
The World Bank Report on “Injuries and Disabilities in Traffic Accidents: The Burden on Indian Society”, prepared in collaboration with the Save Life Foundation, in collaboration with the Save Life Foundation, Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister Gadkari, said, In this alarming scenario, his ministry would formulate guidelines to protect the interests of the poor and take several reform steps.
India has the highest number of road accidents in the world: 1.5 lakh people are killed and more than 4.5 lakh are crippled annually in 4.5 lakh traffic accidents with losses equal to 3.14 percent of GDP.
“To the government, all life is valuable, whether it comes from poor or rich families, urban or rural areas, men or women, and at every level of society. The situation is alarming … there are more deaths than in COVID-19 . It’s more dangerous than COVID-19, “Gadkari said, calling the World Bank report an eye-opener.
In India, the cost per severely injured person is 3.64 lakh, while the cost per injured minor is Rs 77,938 and the cost per death is estimated at 91.16 lakh, he said.
“The cost of death is 100 times higher than the cost of injury. This shows that if we can prevent fatalities in a traffic accident and limit the lives of the accident victims to only minor injuries, we can save around 90 lakh per person.” the minister said the address of the event.
“We had to change laws and set specific guidelines. Accident costs as a huge burden on society and nation. There are many flaws in the legal system and in the police system. We have to protect the poor,” he said, adding that there are political interventions on the anvil apart from a number of steps already initiated by his ministry.
Around 70 percent of deaths are among those of working age between 18 and 45, while India records 415 deaths per day in road accidents.
The minister stressed the road safety review, as well as the review of detailed project reports, technical plans and plans for the injured, saying that various reviews can fix deficiencies that lead to accidents.
40,000 km of motorways were checked beforehand.
The minister said IITs and engineering schools could use sections of motorway for road safety testing with financial support, while third party road safety testing would help find and fix technical bugs.
The minister stressed that his ministry is one such ministry that does not believe in the protection of the evildoers and is transparent, and that the DPR needs to be reviewed and revised by the relevant authorities, third party agencies and educational institutions before implementation.
He urged states to repeat the Tamil Nadu model, which could reduce road accidents by 38 percent and deaths by 54 percent, and said 78 percent of road accident deaths were two-wheelers, cyclists and pedestrians, and the safety and security of those at risk Street user groups have top priority for the center.
Gadkari said the chairman of the National Road Safety Council would be announced soon as this body would be responsible for collecting accident data and suggesting measures to further reduce traffic accidents.
Stressing that 70 percent of the deaths in accidents in India are due to overspeed, the minister said that all vehicles have been required to have fitness testing carried out by Automated Vehicle Inspection and Certification (I&C) centers.
Gadkari also said it was important that automakers continue to improve safety features.
By and large, the report states that road traffic accidents place a tremendous burden on society and the nation and states. Reducing deaths and injuries from accidents can fuel income growth and generate large welfare gains through proven, cost-effective road safety measures.
The minister said that road traffic accident deaths and injuries hit working-age adults in low and middle income countries and that accidents are a problem and public health challenge in countries like India.
Gadkari said the government is working with the World Bank on various projects, one of which is to streamline the iRAD traffic accident database.
He pointed out that one of the main findings of the report is that the number of accidental deaths in poor families is twice as high as in rich. He said it was very important to have a lean, resilient, and accessible legal, insurance, and healthcare ecosystem.
The minister said the report’s recommendations on the safety of vulnerable road users, cashless treatment, improvement of the infrastructure for citizens and health, the penetration and compensation mechanism of insurance, the ecosystem for responding to accidents and the integration of stakeholders to revise the Motor would contribute to the 2019 Vehicle Amendment Act and Motor Vehicle Rules.
The World Bank report comes in spite of the fact that the country is currently having an extended first “Road Safety Month” to raise awareness of road safety.