‘Roads Have Stories’, with such a strong slogan, the UN will be marking the 25thanniversary of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDoR), which is held on the third Sunday of November each year. The slogan is linked to the 2ndpillar of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: Safer Roads & Mobility. Roads & streets are not just physical connections from point A to point B.They are also the final resting places for so many lives cut short.They tell stories, some of them tragic, that are worth remembering. With children being orphaned, mothers losing their babies, and brothers losing their sisters, the message ‘Remember and Reflect, Remember and Respond’will give us an opportunity on this World Day of Remembrance to remember all those lives.
Every 6 minutes someone dies on the roads of the European Region – 230 people each day, 83 000 people every year. In India, the scene is not any good either. Number of people killed in road accidents in India is 2ndhighest globally, which is almost 1.5 lakhs per year. This translates into 17 people dying every hour. Another 5 lakhs are seriously injured in road crashes.
MoRTH report of 2017 revealed that there were 4,64,910 road accidents claiming 1,47,913 lives and causing grave injuries to 4,70,975 persons. The report also pointed out a pertinent fact that fatal road accident victims largely constitute young people in the productive age groups. Young adults in the age group of 18 - 45 years accounted for 72.1% of victims during 2017. People in working age group of 18 – 60 years accounted for a share of 87.2% in the total road accident fatalities.
India is a signatory to Brasilia Declaration (Nov 2015) and is committed in reducing the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50% by 2020. India can achieve its commitment to United Nations of reducing fatalities by 50% by the year 2020 through the passage of MVA Bill 2017 and its proper implementation by respective state governments. The government is far from achieving this target, as the reduction rate touched a mere 3% in 2017.
Keeping in tune with ‘Roads Have Stories’, Consumer VOICE is also focusing on the Voice of Road Crash Victims. Consumer VOICE had earlier appealed to the government to hear the voices and the personal agonies and stories of road crash. Infact those voices were strong enough to be heard by the politicians across all political lines.
So, while remembering our loved ones on this special day, time is also ripe to see that not many lives are cut short because of road accidents. While the passage of the MVA Bill 2017 is of utmost important, it is also important as individuals to remember some basic rules of road safety:
- No Drink Driving
- Use of proper Seat Belts
- Use of Child Restraints
- Motorcycle Helmets are must both for rider and pillion
- No Cell-Phone Use While Driving
Let’s again urge the Government for passage of MVA Bill 2017 and follow self-discipline at the same time. In order to spread the message, Consumer VOICE will be organizing various events along with the state partners in various cities across India.