Globally, road crashes kill 1.35 million people and injure 50 million people every year. Road Traffic Injuries are the leading cause of death amongst children and young adults. It is important to recognise that road crashes not only contribute to the unaccountable suffering of victims, their friends and families but also impact economically productive young lives thereby draining the GDP of the nation. . India witnesses more than 400 road fatalities every day (WHO, 2018). It is important to promote evidence based actions to reduce the impact of this epidemic of road crashes and their socio-economic fallouts.
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDoR) is a day observed globally to remember the millions killed and injured on our world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are also affected. WDoR is commemorated every year on the third Sunday of November. Considering the numerous crashes and fatalities that take place daily on Indian roads, this day is of enormous relevance to Indian road users.
This year, WDoR was commemorated in a joint event by CAG, the Greater Chennai Traffic Police (GCTP), and the Tamilnadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University (TNDALU). The programme was kickstarted with a road safety quiz for students from city colleges - JBAS, Patrician, and TNDALU. This was followed by screening of an animation video on road safety that highlighted the need for wearing helmets, driving within speed limits, and not drinking and driving.
? Keynote address by Thiru.Shankar Jiwal, IPS | Photo: CAG
The Chief Guest was Thiru Shankar Jiwal, IPS, Commissioner of Police, Chennai who spoke on the efforts taken by the government on improving road safety, in particular the enforcement of road rules by the police. He highlighted the socio economic fallouts of a road crash, and that as a society, “We need more discussions on the causes of road crashes and how we can effectively ensure course correction.” He also felicitated the winners of the quiz competition and honoured various officials of the GCTP for their outstanding work in promoting road safety.
? Felicitation of police personnel by the chief guest | Photo: CAG
The event also saw the participation of the Additional Transport Commissioner, Mr. M. Manakumar. He appealed to all citizens to cooperate with the authorities adding that “Penalties have been increased as per the MVAA 2019 to act as a deterrent to risky road behaviour. They should not be perceived as harassment.” Sumana Narayanan, Senior Researcher, CAG, also emphasised that “The increased penalties under MVAA 2019 being implemented in Tamil Nadu is a welcome move. This should serve as a deterrent to poor driving. Penalties are a crucial tool in nudging citizens to obey the law and thereby avoid road crashes.” Participants also heard real life experiences from two road crash victims. The event concluded with the chief guests and other dignitaries including the Vice Chancellor of TNDALU, Prof. Dr. N.S. Santhosh Kumar and the Additional Commissioner (Traffic), Thiru. Kapil C. Saratkar lighting candles and observing a minute of silence in memory of the precious lives lost on Indian roads. The event witnessed enthusiastic participation from college students, faculty members, representatives from Civil Society Organizations and media.
? Remembering the precious lives lost on roads | Photo: CAG