How to reduce road accidents? Remove dangerous streets, design safe spaces: WHO

India witnesses around five lakh casualties every year due to road accidents. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had once admitted high number of road misha
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Photo of a Toyota Fortuner SUV which rammed into a truck at National Highway-48 in Gurugram, killing one, on June 19.
Photo of a Toyota Fortuner SUV which rammed into a truck at National Highway-48 in Gurugram, killing one, on June 19.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested ways governments around the world could use to curtail rising number of road accidents. According to WHO, 'dangerous streets made for cars' is one of the biggest reasons behind road mishaps and casualties. The global body wants more space for cyclists and pedestrians to make things safer. Around 1.3 million people lose their lives to road accidents around the world every year. India ranks among the top countries in road mishap casualties, accounting for about two lakh each year.

Nhan Tran, Head of Safety and Mobility at WHO, said on Monday that there is an urgent need to rethink mobility solutions to reduce accidents. He said, “We must urgently move from an old model of drab, dirty and dangerous streets built for cars, to safe, green and vibrant spaces designed and built for people. Mobility underpins so many other aspects of public health and development. By making walking and cycling safe, we can reduce air pollution and fight climate change."

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According to WHO, middle-income countries contribute nine out of 10 casualties in road accidents. Speaking at the Vision Zero Conference on Road Safety in Sweden, Tran added, “By prioritising the safety of vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists, we can reduce poverty and tackle inequalities, including access to jobs, schools as well as gender equality."

India records around five lakh road accidents every year. Most of the casualties are involved in cases of overspeeding. Cases of drunken driving and wrong-side driving are also some of the biggest causes of accidents and fatalities in India. According to the road accident from 2021, the largest number of victims in road accidents last year have been young people aged between 18 years and 45 years.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had once said the single biggest failure of his ministry was unable to reduce number of road accidents in India. Last month he said the target to reduce road accidents by 50 per cent before 2024 will not happen due to various reasons.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCBR) data, India recorded around 46 severe road accidents every hour last year. The data says India witnesses about 47 accidents and 18 deaths every hour.

First Published Date: 27 Jun 2023, 12:05 PM IST
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