Two, 3-wheeler riders worst hit; says WHO re­port

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - Anonna Dutt let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ▪

NEWDELHI: Two and three-wheeler riders ac­counted for 40% of all traf­fic deaths in In­dia in 2016, ac­cord­ing to WHO’s Global Sta­tus Re­port on Road Safety 2018, which puts the to­tal traf­fic deaths at 1.5 lakh that year.

The ac­tual num­ber of deaths, how­ever, could be higher as per the re­port, which es­ti­mates that there were 2.99 lakh traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties. This means, an es­ti­mated 22.6 peo­ple per 100,000 pop­u­la­tion died of ac­ci­dents in In­dia in 2016.

“The high­est num­ber of ca­su­al­ties are re­ported among peo­ple on two and three wheel­ers, and let me add pedes­tri­ans, be­cause they do not have a pro­tec­tive ex­te­rior ex­pos­ing them to more in­juries. Also, the kind of speed and traf­fic mix in In­dia means that cars with higher speed lim­its drive on the same road with two-wheel­ers with lower speed limit, mak­ing them more ac­ci­dent prone,” said Dr Rakhi Dan­dona who heads the Global Bur­den of Dis­ease –Road In­juries group for the State-level Dis­ease Bur­den ini­tia­tive.

Glob­ally, 1.35 mil­lion peo­ple died in traf­fic crashes the same year.

“The re­port shows that progress has been achieved in im­por­tant ar­eas such as leg­is­la­tion, ve­hi­cle stan­dards and im­prov­ing ac­cess to post-crash care. This progress has not, how­ever, oc­curred at a pace fast enough. At this rate, the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goal to halve road traf­fic deaths by 2020 will not be met,” the re­port stated.

The es­ti­mated num­ber of traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties is al­most dou­ble, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion Re­port, which puts the ab­so­lute num­ber of deaths at 2.99 lakhs. In 2016, 22.6 peo­ple in ev­ery 100,000 pop­u­la­tion died in traf­fic crashes.

Af­ter two and three-wheeler, the high­est num­ber of deaths were re­ported in pas­sen­gers of cars (12%), drivers and pas­sen­gers of heavy trucks (11%), and pedes­tri­ans (10%) af­ter deaths in two and three wheeler drivers.

Look­ing at the fac­tors lead­ing to fa­tal­i­ties, the re­port found that In­dia meets “two to six” in­ter­na­tional ve­hi­cle safety stan­dards. The limit on blood al­co­hol con­cen­tra­tion as per the law in In­dia is 0.03 g/dl. Re­duc­ing blood al­co­hol con­cen­tra­tions from 0.1 g/dl to 0.05 g/dl may con­trib­ute to re­duc­tion in al­co­hol re­lated road traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties by 6 - 18%, the re­port states.

How­ever, the max­i­mum speed limit on ur­ban and ru­ral roads in In­dia is 100 kmph. This is much higher than the speed of 50 kmph or less the re­port was look­ing at. “A 5% re­duc­tion in speed can re­duce the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties by 30%,” it said.

“There is a need to take a multi-sec­toral ap­proach to tackle road crashes and deaths. There has to be bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture that al­lows for safer travel, bet­ter ve­hi­cles, im­proved in­ter­ven­tion and en­force­ment of laws, and a health sys­tem that can take care of ac­ci­dent vic­tims. We need to look at the prob­lem from a health per­spec­tive?” said Dr Dan­dona.

In­dia is the fourth-largest ve­hi­cle pro­ducer in the world.

HT FILE

▪ An es­ti­mated 22.6 peo­ple per 100,000 pop­u­la­tion died of traf­fic ac­ci­dents in In­dia in 2016.

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