Road safety is one of the most critical issues looming over India. India ranks first in the number of deaths caused by road accidents across 199 countries, according to the official data of by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The disturbingly high figures of road accidents in India are a cause of great alarm.
Going beyond speed limits is the leading contributor to road accidents worldwide. According to the Government data, more than 70 per cent of road accidents occur due to over-speeding and 65 percent of the deaths also result from overspeeding related accidents.
Things haven't changed a lot in the past year as well. According to the information by Gautam Budh Nagar traffic police, in 2021, 368 people were killed and 504 injured in 798 road accidents. In 2020 , 380 deaths and 528 injuries in 740 accidents were recorded. There is no substantial difference seen in these numbers, despite the fact that three months in 2021 were under lockdown when road traffic was sparse.
In order to recognize the gravity of road incidents, and to illuminate people of the ways to become more concerned and responsible about their and other people safety on road, the Government of India, in collaboration with various state governments, observes the National Road Safety Week from January 11 to January 17. This year's theme is 'Bringing Change through Youth'.
On the occassion of the onset of National Road Safety Week, Ganesh Saha, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Gautam Budh Nagar, says, "The figures itself explain the situation. Factors that affected the figures in both the years was the lockdown phase. There was a slight rise in the number of accidents in 2021. In 2020 there was a lockdown phase , where people had restricted themselves, due to which comparatively less accidents were recorded. In 2021, at the time of winters the accident death were recorded very few. Several volunteers from different localities of Noida joined us to spread awareness about road safety. We also appreciate the work of Raghvendra Kumar, also known as Helmet man, who has been a part of our campaigns."
He further says, "In November 2021, we conducted an awareness drive for a month and strict enforcement was in place. We recorded fewer accidents in that month. Minor accident cases were not reported in 2020. From 2021, we started registering all minor and major accidents".
Community efforts in Road safety
Raghavendra Kumar, also known as the 'Helmet Man', is working with his team on identifying the accident prone areas in Noida and Greater Noida. After identifying the places, his team will develop helmet banks at those spots.
He says, "On this January 26, we will officially launch all these helmet banks. Any person in the district can avail of free brand helmet ISI standards for 7 days. We have launched a demo version of helmet bank near Knowledge park, Greater Noida. The reason behind choosing this place is because there are many students who live in this area. The student availing these free helmet service have to take a voucher card of 100 rs. We are taking this money so that in future if that person doesn't return the helmet in seven days, then rupees 10 will be deducted from that amount".
Brajesh Sharma, a member of the 7x welfare team, says, "We conduct road safety awareness drive every weekend. After the drive, we also share some suggestions to the traffic police related to the issues that we observe. Overspeeding has been observed as the leading contributor to road accidents which are again very common in Noida. There is a lack of hoardings and posters about road safety in the city. Wrong way driving, not wearing helmet, no seat belts, all these factors contribute to a larger number in road accidents every year".