The Need for Safety: India’s Massive Road Safety Problem
231,000. 231,000 is the estimated number of lives lost every year in Indian car accidents. If that many people are dying from accidents, just imagine how many families and friends are left to mourn the loss of their loved ones. This number is ridiculously high, which leaves us to wonder: why is this happening and how can we stop it?
Road conditions in India continue to get worse every year. Rather than fixing one section of road at a time, workers demolish kilometers of road at once, leaving potholes everywhere. Motorcyclists will take one route to work and get injured on their way home because there is a new pothole or never-before-seen bend in the road. Pedestrians are put in harm’s way as cars veer around large holes in the road. If government officials could set aside a fraction of the money they invest in useless things, and instead invest in long-lasting roads, hundreds of lives would be saved.
Switching lanes to pass the slow car in front of you is understandable, but drivers in India take advantage of this. Driving on the right-side of a narrow, two-way street just because you’re in a hurry, benefits no one. A tired, drunk, or inattentive driver won’t react fast enough after hearing the horn. In an instant, a crash can occur and people may die simply because someone was in a rush.
Believe it or not, there is an actual seatbelt law in India. Only the driver and front-seated passenger are required to wear them. According to WHO, only 27% of India’s driving population wears a seatbelt. Children stand and play in the backseat or sit in their parents’ laps. If an accident occurs, all the people in the car can be ejected through the windshield. Implementing a stricter seatbelt law could prevent this. This simple, essential step, can save millions of lives around the world, let alone in India.
These are the basics of road safety. Other major causes of traffic fatalities include texting and driving, talking and driving, drinking and driving, and falling asleep at the wheel, all of which require their own set of solutions.
People need to fight to have the laws changed. Drivers should have to go through better training before being allowed on the roads. Seatbelt laws should be enforced for ALL passengers. Car seats for children should be readily available. Roads should be long-lasting and well designed. Driver’s licenses shouldn’t be given out just because someone bribed an official. Traffic penalties should be taken seriously. Bribing police officers has become a common solution when people are caught messing up on the road. People like Salman Khan don’t deserve to get out of jail. Car accidents and traffic fatalities are a serious issue. India does not have to account for 15% of the world’s traffic deaths, if only some basic steps are taken.