India No 1 in road accident deaths

Last Updated: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 00:52

Geneva: India suffers from the highest
number of deaths - around 1,05,000 in absolute terms annually-
due to road accidents in the world owing to poor
infrastructure and dangerous driving habits, the World Health
Organisation said on Thursday.

As "road traffic crashes take the lives of nearly
1.3 million every year, and injure 20-50 million more"
in the world, India along with China are listed among
countries with the highest number of deaths.

Poor road infrastructure, failure to comply with
speed limits, growing drinking and driving habits, and refusal
to use proper motorcycle helmets and use child car seats, are
among the main factors contributing to deaths from road
crashes, WHO said in its report on `Decade of Action for Road
Safety 2011-2010`.

Despite strong laws and regulations, India has been
unable to prevent the growing number of accidents on its
roads. With around 1,05,000 death deaths annually, the country
has overtaken China.

With growing middle class which is encouraged to buy
new and latest vehicles, the youth- people aged between 15-29
years - have become the main victims of injuries.

"Over 90 per cent of road traffic deaths and injuries
occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have
only 48 per cent of the world`s registered vehicles," the
report noted.

More disturbingly, a large number of deaths from
road accidents are borne by "vulnerable road users" such as
pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Around 13 per cent of the victims from road-related
deaths are pedestrians in India as compared to 15 per cent of
accidents from passenger cars and taxis and 27 per cent of
riders of motorised two-or-three wheelers.

The road traffic crashes, which result in the
grief and suffering, contribute to economic losses to victims,
their families, and nations as a whole, to the tune of 1-3 per
cent of their respective gross national product, the report
noted.

"Road traffic crashes are a growing health and
development concern affecting all nations," said Dr Margaret
China, WHO`s director general, suggesting that it is important
to have an action plan for an intensified response.

The global plan sets out a detailed programme of
action that would call for improving the safety of road and
vehicles, enhancing emergency services and building up road
safety management.

More importantly, the plan calls on nations to
enforce laws for using helmets, seat-belts and child
restraints.

It emphasises strict and stern action against the
drinking driving and those violating speed limits.

PTI



First Published: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 00:52

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