Transportation is a sector of major concern in any country in relation with the increasing demand of population growth, logistics operations and development. As the road networks and vehicles are increasing, the road accidents are also increasing at different rates and coverage. More than a quarter million people die in road accidents every year worldwide and about 60000 are from India alone showing the severity of the problem in our country. India moves fast to meet the diverse transportation needs making the country as the second largest in road network density in the world. The development of transportation sector and the transportation hazards are diverse among the states in India.
Expansion in road network, motorization and urbanization in the country has been accompanied by a rise in road accidents leading to road traffic injuries (RTIs) and fatalities as a major public health concern. Today road traffic injuries are one of the leading causes of deaths, disabilities and hospitalizations with severe socioeconomic costs across the world.
Studies of the relationship between gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, growth of motor vehicles and road fatalities, have shown that fatality rates increase as GDP increases at relatively low levels of GDP per capita, but then start to decline with continued GDP growth. The peak position on this inverted U-shaped curve is not, however, immutable. The challenge now is to bring about a shift in the relationship between economic growth and road fatalities, so that developing countries benefit from a much earlier improvement than traditional models predict based on the experience of high-income countries
Accidents carry high economic and social costs, which are not easy to ascertain. The cost of road related injuries and accidents can be assessed in terms of (a) medical costs (b) other costs related to administrative, legal and police expenditure (c) collateral damage in terms of damage to property and motor vehicle and (d) loss due to income foregone arising out of absence from work or impairment/disability or untimely death. Besides accident survivors often live poor quality of life and have to live with pain and suffering which are difficult to estimate. In developing countries with very little asset ownership and lack of credible social safety net, accidents adversely impact the welfare of dependents of accident victims. Hence it is imperative to assess the magnitude and dimensions of road accidents so as to assist in formulating road safety policies.
In economic terms, the cost of road crash injuries is estimated at roughly 1 percent of gross national product (GNP) in low-income countries, 1.5 percent in middle-income countries and 2 percent in high-income countries. The direct economic costs of global road crashes have been estimated at US $ 518 Billion, with the costs in low income countries estimated at US $ 65 Billion (World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, page 5, WHO, 2004). These estimates take account only of the direct economic costs – mainly lost productivity – rather than the full social costs often recognized by industrialized countries.
Objectives of Research
What are the causes?
Research design used
What are the measures to prevent?
How accidents occur?
Causes of Road Accidents
The analysis of accidents in terms of causal factors shows that drivers’ fault is the single most important factor responsible for accidents, fatalities and injuries. Drivers’ fault accounted for 78.5% (3,81,648 accidents) of total accidents; 77.4% (3,99,113 persons injured) of the total number of persons injured and 71.7% (90,053 persons killed) of the total number of persons killed in road accidents during 2009. The fault of the cyclists and that of the pedestrians appears to be of marginal consequence accounting for a share of 12% and 2.2% respectively of the accidents. Similarly, cyclists and pedestrians were responsible for about 1.6% and 2.8% respectively of total number of persons killed. The accidents caused due to defects in the motor vehicles also accounted for 1.8% and 2.5% of road accidents and fatalities respectively.
Within the category of drivers’ fault, accidents caused due to “Exceeding lawful speed” accounted for a high share of 57.5% (2,19,305 out of 3,81,648 accidents). Similarly, persons killed due to excessive speed by drivers was to the tune of 5.9%. Intake of alcohol / drugs by drivers resulted in 27,152 road accidents and 9,307 fatalities.
As percent share of total accidents and deaths due to “drivers’ fault”, intake of alcohol/drugs accounted for 7.1% and 10.3% respectively. Overloading/overcrowding of vehicles accounted for 96,012 road accidents and 28,444 road deaths. As a share of total road accidents and deaths, these figures constituted 19.7% and 22.6% respectively.
Factors Causing Accidents
(Press Information Bureau ,Government of India ,November 24,2011)
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways collects data on road accidents from all States/UTs in a format developed as per the Asia Pacific Road Accident Database (APRAD) project of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP). These data are analyzed and an annual publication titled “Road Accidents in India” is released every year by the Transport Research Wing of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The latest issue of the publication for the year 2009 was released in April 2011. The report contains data on road accidents and related parameters, including factors causing road accidents, for all States/UTs.
The analysis of road accident data received from States/UTs reveals that drivers’ fault is the single most important factor responsible for accidents, fatalities and injuries (78.5%).
Some of the other factors responsible for road accidents are as under:
Fault of pedestrian 2.2%
Fault of cyclist 1.2%
Defect in road conditions 1.3%
Defect in condition of motor vehicle 1.8%
Weather condition 0.8%
All other causes 14.2%
NHAI follows Indian Road Congress specifications in the design of highways. Traffic study is carried out by the consultant at the time of preparation of feasibility report /DPR. The consultant proposes a variety of measures like improvement of junctions, provision of underpass/over bridges, pedestrian crossings etc. from the safety perspective. Also, region specific requirements are provided in Indian Roads Congress (IRC) codes. The geometric design of highways factors in variations in terrain, material, traffic, etc. Functions of IRC include preparation of Standards, Codes of practice and guidelines for the planning, design, construction, operation & maintenance of roads and bridges in the country. IRC is not involved in actual designing of specific roads.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Shri Jitin Prasada in a Rajya Sabha
The Cuases of Road Accidents can be classified as under
The magnitude of road accidents and fatalities in India is alarming. This is evident from the fact that every hour there are about 56 accidents (about one accident every minute). Similarly, every hour more than 14 deaths occur due to road accidents i.e. one death in every 4 minutes