World Bank report on road safety

WASHINGTON, Feb 13: India, which has one per cent of the world’s vehicles, accounts for 10 per cent of all road crash victims, the latest World Bank report on road safety said on Saturday.

Hartwig Schafer, World Bank’s Vice President for South Asia, said the Indian government in recent years has taken significant steps to address the issues related to road safety.

“For India, it’s one per cent of the world’s vehicles and 10 per cent of the crash victims. This is something where, in particular in India, we have to pay attention,” Schafer said on the occasion of the release of the report on road safety in New Delhi on Saturday.

While the attention in the last year has shifted due to COVID-19, there is an interesting link between road safety and pandemic right now, he noted.

“Unfortunately, the road crashes have not been going down and any time 10 per cent of the capacity in hospitals is being used for the treatment crash victims,” he said.

Schafer said road crashes actually hit the poorest and the most vulnerable segments of the populations. However, the good thing is that India has been doing quite a bit on road safety, he added.

Last year, India amended its Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, which is “bringing a lot of innovation” in terms of financing, protection and enforcement to the fore, he said.

Emergency health care facilities in the vicinity of highways make a huge difference in addressing the challenge of road safety. Enforcement is another key aspect of road safety.

The goal of reducing the road crashes by half by 2030, is achievable, he asserted, noting that the foundation for this has been laid out in India.

According to the Road Accident Report for 2019, a total number of 449,002 accidents took place in India during the calendar year 2019, leading to 151,113 deaths and 451,361 injuries. – PTI