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Road accidents, a contemporary threat

Road accidents, a contemporary threat
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By: Mir Tajamul Islam, Shahid ul Islam

Yuval Noah Harari, one of the famous historians of the world writes in one of his books- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century that most deaths around the globe are driven by road accidents, not by smoking, drinking, terrorism, some incurable diseases, etc.

So many questions arise in one’s mind. Why aren’t different governments able to get to grips with the threat? What are the causes of road accidents and how to avoid them? This write-up will be able to elucidate things with particular regard to India.

The teenagers are warm-blooded and they are trying to keep their collars high by doing stunts on the roads for fetching public attention which in turn the loss of precious lives. It has become a concerning trend in Kashmir as well. Road accidents are the most unwanted thing to happen, yet they happen almost every day.

The cities grow in population and complexity, road accidents also grow in number. A heterogeneous traffic mix of vehicles that includes high-speed vehicles, vulnerable road users, unsafe road infrastructure, and inadequately trained drivers all contribute to the high fatality rates. As per the data collected and report prepared by J&K traffic police, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed as many as 76,948 road accidents between 2010 and 2022, with in these 12 years the annual rate of accidents increased per year.

India has the second largest road network in the world and causes 10% of worldwide road fatalities. Major causes of road accident deaths during the year 2022 -2023 are the reasons of over speeding 55.9%, careless driving/ over-taking/etc. 27.5%,Weather conditions 3.5%,Driving while consuming drug/alcohol 1.9%, mechanical defects 3%,and other causes 9%. Near about 1.5 lakh people dies per year in India in these road accidents.

Recently, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) stressed that efforts are necessary to reduce road accidents by 50 percent by or before the end of 2025.As these road accidents break the economy of the country and cause social problems. As per the reports of 2022, there were 1,55,627 deaths due to road accidents which were registered in India and 59.8 percent of fatalities occurred due to over-speeding.

The parliament have had made several laws and rules related to the regulations of traffic on roads, viz Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which contains near about 217 sections which all are related to the use of vehicles. This act was amended recently in 2019 to strengthen the traffic policies and rules. Apart from these acts, there is the use of lights which regulates the traffic in urban areas, especially in rush traffic cities.

Important ways to avoid accidents, recommendations from West Bengal traffic police

(1) Drive always in the prescribed and appropriate speed limits on the various roads. Remember always that ‘Speed thrills but kills.

(2) Always put on helmets, seat belts, and other safety equipment before entering or driving a bicycle/motorcycle/vehicle. Always remember that “Safety always saves a life”.

(3) Do not drink and drive.

(4) Never use cell phones or earphones while driving any vehicle. Always remember “A mobile call or watching videos on the road may be the last call of your life, so be responsible for yourself and others”.

Know the traffic signs, signals, lights, and traffic safety rules before you hit the road.

Red: Stop! Yellow: Slow! Green: Go

(5) Keep a gap of four to five meters while driving your vehicle.

Always remember that “Road safety rules are best tools to avoid accidents and drive according to the rules”.

(6) Do not drive for long hours continuously.

Road accidents mostly happen in big cities and hill areas sometimes due to heavy traffic movements on small roads, sometimes due to a lack of well-established roads.

India has the dubious distinction of having the maximum number of road fatalities in the world. Over speeding is the major cause of all the common causes of road accidents. It is a natural psyche of humans to accelerate, and given a chance, man is sure to achieve infinity in speed.

Studies reveal that 81 percent of accidents are due to the fault of drivers, most of them with valid driving licenses. It is difficult to ensure proper safety awareness for drivers and monitor their licenses. New drivers need more comprehensive training, skill, and rigorous test levels on safety awareness.

Education and enforcement can together bring about a shift in the mindset of drivers. Better roads and the ability of a driver to comprehend road signs, and pay heed to speed restrictions are some of the driving etiquettes that will ease the pressure on traffic police. Discipline ensures your safety and faster movement of traffic on roads.

The frequent camps on road safety with catchy slogans like, “Be alert today- live tomorrow”. “A simple and sudden call or text can wreck it all”, “two-wheelers are only for two, and not for too many, and “fast drive could be your last drive” will go a long way in preventing accidents. There is a very urgent need to stress more on road safety awareness.

The traffic police and government authorities must take serious action against those bikers and pillion riders who are violating the traffic rules and creating a mess on the public roads. It is also the duty of each parent to keep watch on their children. As life is only a one-time offer, we should use it for good deeds.

It is the responsibility of every individual in the country to minimize these contretemps accidents. Everyone has to play his role and must have to perform his own self and administrative duty. The law is made for the public benefit so we should always abide by the laws so that we could make them possible.

(Your life is not only pretentious but you are adored by your society and as well by the country because your country needs some developing efforts from you, so don’t give from here your life until you will be called to come)

(The authors are Law students)


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