Road Accidents A Big Challenge for India--------- Neeraj Sharma


About the Author----- The author is a post graduate in Sociology and presently working in a prestigious defence institute as a secretarial staff. He has also experience of various government and private sector offices. He has written a number of articles and poems which have been published in different newspapers. A poetry compilation titled 'MERI KAVITA' written by author was presented to the members of 'Committee of Parliament on Official Language' last year.

Road Accidents A Big Challenge for India

Once again the government’s stand is ‘Hit & Run’. This is not the first time when government has been constrained to withdraw a law, even in the past, there are many examples when government had brought in a law and later, due to sharp protest across the country either withdrew or were forced to amend the law like Agriculture Reforms Act, Land Acquisition Law etc. These caused uproar, demonstrations and intense movements and ultimately the government had to bow down. The biggest question that arises is whether the government has now become accustomed to such act? 

Two months back mass protests by transporters and commercial drivers in some major states of the country against the ‘Hit and Run Law 2023’ had forced the government to withdraw the law. Having gone through the ibid law and the concerns raised by the transport sector and common people one finds that there are a lot of loopholes in the law which should have been addressed before making it public. It is a well-known fact that the new law came in the backdrop of concerning figures related to road accidents. As per data and various reports, more than 1.68 Lakhs road accidents were reported in 2022 which means 462 deaths occurred daily. Another disturbing fact is that in our country, road accidents increased to 12% with 9.4% fatalities while global road crash deaths decreased by 5% (data taken from MORTH reports published in October 2023). Without getting into facts and figures available in open domain as well as on various government websites, it can be easily established fact that road accidents are increasing year on year basis in India which needs to be addressed. 

Through use of technology we can replace a harsh and strict law into an easy going and more practical. The road accident rules can be made user friendly in India considering the sentiment of the people because ultimately all planning and works are being done by government for betterment of people. A major challenge is that how our nation can reduce the road accidents without introducing harsh and strict laws. It seems a fresh memory when one and half decade back, it was heard through various experts on electronic and print media that with the improvement of road infrastructure, figure of road accidents in India will go down automatically and it is not a big concern. However, the situation is very different today before us. It is an evident fact that road accidents are not a cause of a single reason but mix up of various reasons like challenging work conditions of drivers, long driving hours and difficult roads, poor visibility due to fog, habitual drunken driving culture in our society. Also, sometimes ground realities are very different and drivers are unfairly blamed for accidents, irrespective of actual circumstances as there are no concrete provisions to find out actual cause of accident. In our country, generally for any accident, drivers of bigger vehicles are blamed without considering actual cause of mishap. 

After highlighting various issues on the topic, now let’s put across some points / ideas before our readers to resolve the burning issues of road accidents. It may not be a fool proof solution but it can be very helpful in addressing the major problem at hand that mostly arises in case of an accident. To understand the concept let us take the example of aeroplane in which a device called ‘Black Box’ is installed that provides reliable feedback to know the actual cause of air crash. The said device is very useful in addressing the fault and take suitable future recourse. Similar devices nowadays have already been placed in various other transport means like ships, trains etc to know the actual cause of accidents.  

However, it is very unfortunate that such kind of devices or technologies have not been used or implemented in road transport. With access to modern and advanced technology, advanced 3600 cameras can be placed on top of the vehicles or at the sides linked with navigation system, sensor and vehicles’ registration numbers. A step by step illustration of functioning of this device is given below :-

On collision of vehicles from any side, cameras of these vehicles will capture the videos in 3600 mode. 

Immediately an automatic message (system generated message) will be sent to nearest RTO & police station containing the basic details of vehicles, owners, video footage of accident, nearest government and private hospitals etc as all RTO and police stations are already connected with servers across the country. A separate app or software can also be made for this purpose.

The GPS/ navigation system will facilitate in knowing the exact location of accident and a police van (fully equipped with all necessary medical support and a nursing assistant like Janani Suraksha Van) that is on standby with the police station is immediately rushed to the place of accident.  

This will result in timely medical assistance to the injured persons who can be evacuated to nearest hospital within a short period of time that can prove life-saving in a critical condition. Sadly, under the present arrangements, due to inefficient system, in maximum cases the injured persons are unable to reach the hospital and die on the spot. 

Sensor of vehicles will raise an alarm immediately during accident so that maximum people can come for any assistance/help to the persons trapped inside or outside the vehicles. 

Based on video footage, RTO will also take action to remove the vehicles from road to clear the traffic jam.

Other advantages of the suggested solution are :-

Due to availability of video footage, charges can be framed in a fair manner and investigating team can take action in an earlier time frame. 

Other crimes where vehicles are used like robbery, kidnapping, rape cases in moving vehicles etc can be curbed.

All updates will always be available with RTOs & Police Stations regarding accidental vehicles and their users.

In case of accidents taking place within a short time interval by same users (as e-data will be available), the licence can be suspended temporarily as a punishment and other appropriate actions can be taken against them by appropriate authority. 

Let’s hope that through this article the policy/law makers and ministry of transport carries out adequate interactions with all stakeholders like technical experts, vehicle manufacturing companies, users and administration to take necessary inputs and then make a law that is acceptable and implementable.