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Road Safety

This project seeks to highlight road accidents, the magnitude of the problem and the need for robust legislation, road safety measures and a change in user behaviour to prevent fatalities   and injuries.

There is one fatality every 4 minutes on Indian roads. The World Health Organization(WHO) notes that though India has only one per cent of the world’s roads, the country accounts for 10 per cent of road accident fatalities. Reversing this worsening trend requires a concerted effort on various fronts – changing user behaviour; stronger legislation that covers aspects of vehicle safety, etc; better enforcement of legislation; proper road design and improved data collection regarding traffic.

Currently, a Road Transport and Safety Bill has been tabled before Parliament that seeks to replace the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The Bill went through several drafts that saw the dilution of penalties and road safety norms.

In addition, based on a Supreme Court directive, the Government of India has issued guidelines on ensuring that citizens who provide help during or after an accident (Good Samaritans) are not harassed by police, hospitals or other authorities. This was in response to studies indicating that people do not come forward to provide aid to accident victims because of a fear of legal and other hassles.

The project aims to increase awareness of the need for stronger road safety laws among the public, legislators, police, media and other stakeholders. This would mobilise stakeholders to call for road safety aspects of the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015 to be returned to its earlier, undiluted norms, and to advocate for a Good Samaritan law. The project will focus on 3 states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala.

The project hopes to ensure the inclusion of the road safety norms that were removed from the original draft of the Bill, as well as a Good Samaritan Law.

The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill and Third Party Insurance

Defraying risks has been a goal for humans ever since trading began, perhaps even as far back as the Early Bronze Age. The Code of Hammurabi speaks of traders insuring their goods in ancient Babylon. As trade and human civilizations grew more complex, so did insurance.[1] Today, you can insure almost anything. Insurance for vehicles though, is a fairly recent concept – just 100 years old. This...know more

Driving licences, Legislation, and Privatisation

When I took the driving test for my LMV licence I was quite nonchalant, having driven a two-wheeler for about two years before and schooled in road rules by the extended family, mostly in the form of asides when other road users behaved badly, “Idiot! Pulling into traffic without looking, without signalling! What is this country coming to?”. At the RTO, for the driving test, I remember being...know more

Seat belts – there for a reason

For too long now, we have been treating the seat belt as if it were a vestigial organ. Confused? A vestigial organ is a rudimentary body part that is not really functional. So high is our disregard for this life saving device, that when our cars have their yearly check over, obliging mechanics neatly tuck away and put under seat covers, this appendage that we’d rather not be dealing with. In most...know more

A balancing act: safety vs necessity

Image courtesy: afrycze A baby born in India almost never leaves his mother’s loving arms. The image of a mother feeding a fussy baby on her hip, distracting him with the sights and sounds on the street, is quintessentially an Indian one. Unlike in the West, we eschew prams, high chairs and baby baths in favour of holding our babies and toddlers as we take them shopping, give them...know more

Non-motorised ‘nuisance’ - the Indian government’s very unique take on non- motorised traffic

Image courtesy: www.thebetterindia.com Before India first began her highway expansion project, not so many years ago, driving even at 50 km/h was an impossible venture. We either minced our way around narrow city roads or ventured on to highways, with great trepidation, for there was no saying what lay around the corner. Highways would widen or narrow at will, often coming to an abrupt...know more

Letter to DGP on the need for Tamil Nadu Police to adhere to road

The Traffic Police are the enforcers of road rules. Unfortunately, they can be seen violating the rules. CAG wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Chennai and the Director General of Police calling on them to proactively ensure that the police personnel obey traffic rules, thus setting the right example for the citizens to follow. know more

Letter to Commissioner of Police on the need for Tamil Nadu Police to adhere to road

The Traffic Police are the enforcers of road rules. Unfortunately, they can be seen violating the rules. CAG wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Chennai and the Director General of Police calling on them to proactively ensure that the police personnel obey traffic rules, thus setting the right example for the citizens to follow. know more

The Hindu: Tamil Article 5

The final article of a 5 part series published in the Tamil edition of The Hindu, talks of the many road design issues relating to highways and the lack of road safety infrastructure. The article goes on to list road safety measures being implemented in countries like Sweden. know more

The Hindu: Tamil Article 4

The fourth of a 5 part series published in the Tamil edition of The Hindu, talks of the Good Samaritan Guidelines issued by the Government of India that ensures that anyone who helps a traffic accident victim is not embroiled in complicated red tape in hospitals or with the police or the courts. The article also notes that many lives can be saved if accident victims reach a hospital within the...know more

The Hindu: Tamil Article 3

The third of a 5 part series published in the Tamil edition of The Hindu, talks of how vulnerable road users like pedestrians are rarely given space on the roads. Typically pavements are rare, forcing pedestrians to walk amidst traffic or weave around parked vehicles that take up the pavement. Talking of the high incidence of accidents where pedestrians are injured or killed in India, the article...know more