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Governance

The Big Picture: Road Safety - Global Goals 2030

  • 18 Mar 2020
  • 9 min read

The given debate is about road safety and the global goals to curb road accidents by 2030.

  • Recently, top government officials of more than 100 countries met at Stockholm, Sweden for the third Global Ministerial Conference on road safety. The objective of the conference is to discuss the expertise and new steps to decrease road accidents by 2030, by at least half.
    • The first Global Ministerial Conference on road safety was held in 2009 in Russia.
    • The second conference was held in 2015 in Brasilia, Brazil.

Key Findings: WHO’s Global Status Report on Road Safety (2018)

  • Road traffic injuries are the 8th leading cause of death among all.
  • 1.35 million deaths per year occur due to road traffic accidents with 90% of these casualties taking place in the developing countries.
  • It is the leading cause of death among children aged 5-14 years and among young adults aged 15-29.
  • Out of the 1.35 million, 54% of deaths are of pedestrians, cyclists, and motor cyclists.
  • Low income countries share only 1% of the total number of vehicles worldwide but 13% of fatalities due to the same.
  • On the contrary, countries with high income, share 40% of the world's vehicles but 7% of deaths.

United Nations on Road Safety

  • The United Nations identified sustainable development goals in 2010.
  • The UN declared the decade of 2011-20 as The Decade of Road Safety.
    • As part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the goal of the Decade (2011-2020) was to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic deaths around the world.
  • SDG 3.6- By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
  • SDG 11.2- By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older people.

India and Road Safety

  • The global report of 2018 puts India at the top spot in terms of deaths due to road accidents. In 2000, there were about 77,000 fatalities due to road accidents whereas at present it is about 1,50,000.
  • Rate of crippling injuries is even more than the fatality rate.
  • Death rates of vulnerable road users is 70-90%

Vulnerable Road Users (VRU)

VRUs are defined in the ITS Directive as "non-motorised road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists as well as motor-cyclists and persons with disabilities or reduced mobility and orientation".

  • National highways, state highways and expressways contribute to the 60% fatalities.
  • Road safety besides health, is an economic issue as well. Road accidents, injuries and fatalities all together lead to a declination of about 3% of our GDP.

Causes of Road Accidents

  • Poor condition of the road infrastructure.
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals;
    • signage boards either not present or put in the wrong places
  • Lack of proper knowledge about the traffic rules and signage boards.
  • Lack of responsibility among people regarding driving, parking, following rules etc.
  • Traffic management is quite casual.

Measures Taken

In the context of road safety, the Govt. of India has taken the following measures:

  • National road safety policy: This policy outlines various measures such as promoting awareness, establishing road safety information database, encouraging safer road infrastructure including application of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety laws etc
  • The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019:
  • The Govt. has also formulated certain Acts:
    • The National Highways Act, 1956: under this, the land is acquired for National Highway projects- building, maintenance, operation and management of National Highways, acquisition of land and payment of compensation is given after passing of award by the Competent Authority.
    • The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988: The act is the primary central legislation that regulates the licensing and registration of motor vehicles, and drivers
    • The Central Road and Infrastructure Fund Act, 2000
    • The Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2000: The
    • Act provides the control of land within the National Highways, right of way and traffic moving on the National Highways and also for removal of unauthorised occupation thereon.
    • The Carriage by Road Act, 2007: The Act provides for the regulation of common carriers, limiting their liability and declaration of value of goods delivered to them to determine their liability for loss of, or damage to, such goods occasioned by the negligence or criminal acts of themselves, their servants or agents and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
    • The National Highways Authority of India Act, 1998: The Act provides for the constitution of an authority for the development, maintenance and management of national highways and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Way Forward

  • Road safety needs to be seen as a public health issue rather than a transportation issue. There is a need to focus on the behavioral change in society now. Road safety should be dealt with in a mission mode.
  • Government should form a dedicated agency to look after the multi-sectoral issues of road safety.
  • On the construction part, the road design needs to be thoroughly audited before any action regarding the same takes place.
    • In case of EPC projects, the engineering deficiencies should be largely taken care of.

What is an EPC-project?

An “Engineering, Procurement and Construction” or short EPC-Project is a particular form of contracting arrangement used in some industries where the EPC-Contractor is made responsible for all activities from design, procurement, construction, to commissioning and handover of the deliverables to the Owner or Operator (O/O). Similar concepts are “Turnkey”, “Lump Sum Turnkey (LSTK)” or “Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM)”.

  • Safety needs to be assured from the mobility point of view as well; how to move goods and ourselves in a better, faster and safer way.
  • The corporations, the immediate beneficiaries to the development of roadways (such as tyre manufacturing companies), should also in return contribute towards ensuring road safety, by:
    • Organising NGOs for creating awareness about road safety.
    • Appointing experts for the same.
    • Giving financial contribution for the betterment of roadways.
  • VRUs should be given top priority while ensuring the safety regarding road accidents.
    • The road designing should be done in such a way that the most vulnerable user is safe, eventually making the better protected ones safe as well.
  • Even while changing our role as a road user; switching mode of transport (say from a pedestrian to a car driver), one should be equally concerned about the safety of oneself and others.

Conclusion

All the beneficiary corporations should come and put their best foot forward to contribute in the road safety- global goals 2030. Moreover, road safety should be looked upon as a mission in order to achieve the set target. Awareness and sense of responsibility needs to be developed within the people regarding road safety.

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