In the October- November 2012 issue of Trafficinfratech, we had posed the question: How safe are we on our roads? We spoke to enforcement agencies, NGOs and system providers on the safety measures available, enforcement challenges and possible solutions. Issues discussed included lack of training for enforcement personnel; need for standards and proper mechanism to ensure safety manuals are followed; lack of centralized authority to monitor construction of roads; erratic driver behaviour; not using quality products; lack of cooperation among various traffic/transport agencies, the need to have specific governmental bodies with experts and the urgency to integrate technologies. For this issue, we requested the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to tell us about the safety initiatives put in place by the government to improve road safety.
This editorial is being written on the World Head Injury Awareness Day (March 20). A study published in the Medical Journal Armed Forces India on road accidents recently threw up some alarming figures. It shows that two-wheelers are the commonest of vehicles involved in road mishaps and most victims are in the age group of 20-30 years. The number of accidents and casualties keep increasing every year, in spite of policy reforms and improvement in road infrastructure.
In his interview with Trafficinfratech, David Ward, Secretary General , Global NCAP explained the structural weaknesses of some of the small Indian cars and the need to regulate safety standards. However, at a recent conclave of automakers in Noida, it was stated that bad road conditions, poor driving habits and some drivers’ unwillingness to pay for basic safety features, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes or even helmets have been the main reasons for accidents. Only a few users want to shell out for safety features. But the experts say, safety is not as expensive as it is made out to be. So we need to find a balance.
We have also brought to our readers the content of a high level panel discussion on sustainable development of highways held as part of the Trafficinfratech Expo 2013, held last November.
Traffic Infra Tech