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Road Safety in Karnataka

With the improvement of road infrastructure, of vehicle capabilities and performance, and of the volume of road users in all categories there is an in increase in road traffic accidents and trauma rates. This has created major socio-economic and public health consequences spread over various sectors in India. Due to road accidents, in 2011, 1.42 lakh people died in India and around 9000 people in Karnataka . Premature and costly loss of life and permanent disability (currently estimated value being about 3% of GDP in India) worsens poverty reduction efforts and if left unaddressed is likely to deteriorate further as motor vehicle traffic grows. Recent major international studies and research led by bodies like the WHO and World Bank have indicated that road deaths are not an inevitable side effect of motorization, and that a large proportion of road deaths and disability can be avoided with effective road safety management. Causes for accidents: According to an analysis carried out shows that the main causes of road accident in our country are: drivers’ fault (77.91%), pedestrian/ passengers fault (1.36%), mechanical defect in vehicles (2.01), bad roads (1.32%) and other factors like bad weather, cattle coming in the way, fallen trees, road blockage, absence of rear reflectors. road signals , non-functioning of road signals etc. (17.40%). Measures to control accidents: Engineering Measures: Improvement of road designs by meeting all relevant geometric and safety standards including provisions for flyovers, grade separators, by-passes, railway over/under bridges, bus/truck lay-byes, service roads, junction improvements, overhead signs, cautionary /regulatory/ informatory retro-reflective sign boards, crash barriers, median railings, thermoplastic road markings, traffic lights and delineators, by-passes etc. Enforcement Measures: Enforcement measures includes testing the competence of drivers at the time of licensing, checking the physical fitness of vehicles and their compliance with regulations at the time of registration, periodical fitness check of commercial vehicles, strict rules and regulations on use of helmets, wearing of seat belts, detection / prosecution of drunken driving and prevention of plying of over loaded vehicles. Educational Measures: Carrying out awareness campaigns on a continuous basis through print and electronic media, viz, newspapers advertisements, cinema slides, radio jingles and T.V. spots. Besides, calendars, posters, hand bills/stickers and fun games for school children conveying simple and direct road safety messages. Vehicle Safety: Vehicle manufacturing should conform to the requirements of both active and passive safety i.e. to prevent accidents and also to save the occupants and other road users. Strengthening Institutional arrangements : Road safety is a multi disciplinary activity and requires coordination between the stakeholder departments (Transport, PWD, Police and the Health). Developed countries have established Lead Agencies which are responsible for coordinating and implementing the road safety initiatives. Sundar Committee report on Road Safety and Traffic Management in India (2007) has emphasised the need to establish the Lead Agency both at the Central and State levels to achieve substantive, sustainable improvements in road safety strategy and management.

References: [1] Practical Guide on Road safety, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Asian Development Bank [3] Sundar Committee report on Road Safety [2007] Submitted by-Akshara gowda and Tanushree .[2] Road Safety Audit.