Children are our future and we simply cannot let it go waste on road accidents. Every year we lose innocent lives to road accidents caused due to rash driving, drunk driving or drivers not adhering to road rules. In 2017 alone, more than 9,000 children died in road accidents comprising about 6.4% of all road users.
On this Children’s Day, Consumer VOICE and its state partners reminded the Government once again of this deadly fact and urged the government to save children by passing the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017 in the upcoming winter session of the parliament. To draw the attention of the Government, a press release was issued by Consumer Voice and distributed by the state partners to leading local and national dailies.
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In 2017, more than 9,000 children died in road casualties in India comprising 6.4% of all the road users who died in road casualties. The number of injuries to children in road mishaps are also increasing every year.
Children are the future of our young nation and their safety and protection should be the priority. Road crashes are impacting children directly including their ability to attend the school. One reason children are more severely impacted by road traffic crashes is because of their limited physical, cognitive and social development which makes them more vulnerable road user than adults and susceptible to serious injury or death as a result of road crashes.
India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety which aims to bring down road accidents by 50% by 2020. This can only be achieved by having a stricter and stronger road safety law. The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017 has already been cleared by Lok Sabha in April, 2017 and is due for passage by the Rajya Sabha.
It is high time that we declare “Road Safety A National Priority” considering the fact that more than 400 people are dying on roads daily which are largely preventable.
Consumer VOICE is leading a National Coalition of Road Safety which includes other organisations working on road safety such as Parisar, CUTS International and CAG (Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group). This National Coalition has been appealing to the Hon’ble Prime Minister & Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways for enhancing road safety for many months now.
If this road safety bill is further deferred, we will be putting at risk more precious lives before the next session of the Parliament can adopt it. These casualties may include thousands of innocent children and youth in their productive years of life.
Some of the key provisions of the proposed bill include:
- It proposes to make safety belt or child restraint system mandatory in car for children below 14 years with a stiff penalty of Rs 1000.
- Guardian/Owner shall be deemed to be guilty with Rs. 25000 penalty and/or 3 years imprisonment with cancellation of registration of vehicle for juveniles’ drivers.
- Penalty of Rs 1000 and subsequent disqualification of driving license for not wearing helmet.
As per the annual publication ‘Road Accidents in India-2017’ a report released by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways there were a total of 4,64,910 road accidents, 1,47,913, road traffic deaths and 4,70,975 persons injured in the year 2017. (www.missionroadsafety.com)