The total number of accidental deaths on roads as recorded were frozen at 69,800 in the year 1996. Of course, the figure was 60,000 for 1993. In a nation where only 14% of deaths are reported to the registrar (due to fear of police harassment and legal delays), actual figures would be double or more now to that of 1996.
If we take 1,50,000 deaths a year presently on roads, it is appalling – 416 precious lives are lost daily on Indian roads, including 15 deaths per day in Delhi alone. How insensitive we are to loss of human lives? Really we are hypocrites – on the one hand we take pride in being vegetarians and on the other insensitive to loss of human lives. If we look at the accident that claimed Rajesh Pilot, it is apparent that it occurred while the car was overtaking another vehicle.
Sudden appearance of another vehicle in the opposite direction leaves no option to the drivers but head on collision.
This is the result of non –maintenance of road side shoulders to permit the vehicles to swerve and park-off the Road. Shoulders on either side of the road with a width of 1.5 to 2.5mm should be constructed and maintained all along.
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Care should be taken that main road’s surface and shoulder’s top surface be at the same level. Generally drivers avoid shoulders as practically either shoulders are narrow or four to five inches below the black top surface of the main road way. lest the vehicle topple due to sudden change of level.
When it comes to accountability, it is the responsibility of the road engineers, who should ensure safe passage for the road users.
Another cause of accidents is lack of visibility distance at bends or curves.
Whereas road alignment specifications stipulate that about 270 to 430 mts.
Sight of visibility distance should be kept free of any obstructions to enable the drivers to negotiate the curve safely. In practice this ought-to-be-clear zone is always covered with either wild shrubs or trees planted mindlessly by the R&B Department itself, and not to speak of encroachments. Hence it is high time that the authorities especially road engineers and funds allocators woke up in this hi-tech era to make roads safely navigable and save precious lives 400 a day.