According to the Hindu Business Line, a World Bank report reveals that India has only 1 percent of the world’s automobiles, yet it accounts for 11% of road accidents globally. Currently, more than 400 people lose their lives every day due to road accidents, says Nitin Gadkari. The Union minister admits this record is one of his ministry’s biggest failures in the past seven years. He says he has emphasized improving road quality and safety standards to reduce road crash rates by half in the next three years. Gadkari’s announcement comes months after he said about 6-7 lakh people would die because of road crashes if we wait until 2030.
According to Gadkari, his ministry is working hard to lower road fatalities by restructuring road and automobile engineering. When it comes to automobile engineering, leading automakers are already making safer vehicles. For example, during the Auto Expo India 2018, Ashok Leyland unveiled its first electric bus, Circuit-S, which aims to improve public transport. Below are other ways Gadkari and his ministry plan to reduce road accidents by 50 percent.
Ensuring all drivers hold valid licenses after completing thorough driving tests is a critical step to promoting road safety. In addition to licensing, transport authorities should also focus on speed limits, stop signs, and traffic lights. Reducing speed limits on roads to 30km/h, for instance, helps prevent road rage, which often results in road fatalities. However, for these laws to be effective, the government must impose hefty penalties and fines. Failure to do so gives drivers the idea they can get away when they speed or disobey traffic lights.
Increased corporation from insurers
There are several ways insurers can help improve road safety, like providing information on road user behavior. Detailed data about crash types, injuries, location, and vehicle safety defects linked to collisions can help the government design and implement effective traffic regulations. Insurers can also help maintain road safety by educating motorists about how insurance works, including insurance policy limits.
It is crucial to understand that there is a policy limit to cover your losses for every insurance coverage you purchase. For instance, let’s say you have a policy limit of $60,000. That’s the maximum amount the insurance will pay to settle an accident claim if you’re at fault. When drivers understand this aspect, they become more responsible on the road, thus avoiding the legal implications of getting more liability coverage after an accident.
Enhance roadway designs
While building new roads is an excellent strategy to enhance road safety, finding funds for infrastructure development isn’t easy. For this reason, traffic authorities should invest in improving existing road infrastructure. This step entails installing pedestrian islands in crosswalks, building roundabouts, and redesigning walkways. Investing in advanced traffic lights and correctly setting the signals can have a significant impact on road safety. For example, extending the yellow light duration can limit red-light violations by almost half and save lives.
Road engineering problems are the leading cause of about half of road accidents in India. Fortunately, the government can reduce this rate by enhancing road infrastructure, like designing safe roads and installing traffic lights. Other effective ways to make roads safer include driving safe vehicles and enforcing strict driving laws, like reducing speed limits.