By Amanullah Khan
Accident severity is growing in increasing order due to increase in vehicle population. Accident leads to disablement, death, damage to health and property, social suffering and general degradation of the environment. The road accident situation is alarming.. The high accident rate is largely attributed to the inadequacy of the highways and other main roads to meet the traffic demands, road user behavior, vehicle defects, poor road geometrics and visibility. Road accidents inflict heavy economic losses. Road Safety is necessary to reduce accident involving both humans and vehicles there by making the road more safe and user friendly to traffic. Road crashes take away the right to life of 3,000 people every day. This is a global humanitarian disaster, and it is manmade. Road safety is one of the most important problems in our society. Every year 1.2 million of people are killed and between 20 and 50 million people are injured in road accidents. If current trends continue road traffic accidents are predicted to be third leading contributor to the global burden of Disease and injury by 2020.
India had earned the dubious distinction of having more number of fatalities due to road accidents in the world. Road safety is emerging as a major social concern around the world. To minimize the number of crashes of any kind and severity expected to occur on the entity during a specific period is known as road safety. Accidents and the fatalities on road are the result of inter-play of a number of factors. Road users are heterogeneous in nature, ranging from pedestrians, animal- driven carts, bicycles, rickshaws, hand carts and tractor trolleys, to various categories of two/three wheelers, motor cars, buses, trucks, and multi-axle commercial vehicles and so on. The vehicle population has been steadily increasing because of change in the style of living of people. Increase in vehicle population with limited road space used by a large variety of vehicles has heightened the need and urgency for a well thought-out policy on the issue of road safety. The rate of accident is directly proportional to growth of vehicle population. Road accidents are a human tragedy, which involve high human suffering. They impose a huge socio-economic cost in terms of untimely deaths, injuries and loss of potential income.
From studies about traffic engineering , we can see that only 13% of people follow traffic rules strictly. On the other hand, 47% people moderately follow traffic rules and 40% of people never follow traffic rules. So, this is very apparent that traffic rules violation is one of the main reason that is responsible for road accidents. Of course, the other important complaint against traffic we have this time is lack of proper law implementation. So, law enforcement should be strict and reckless driving should be avoided. If all types of vehicle drivers follow the traffic rules properly then it can surely decrease the load on the road and improve safety. To reduce road accidents, the most vital prerequisite, is the development of public awareness. And unless and until we people change our perception and develop a mind to abide traffic rules, whatever strategy the administration takes, it will not work properly. Law-abiding consciousness, good-intention and sincere co-operation will remarkably reduce road accidents.
The main characteristics that are responsible for various traffic operations which are necessary to be taken under consideration to prevent the road accidents include:
(i) Age, Gender & Personality
(iii) Alcohol & Drugs
(v) Fatigue and
(vi) Use of Cell Phones while driving.
(i) Tyre defect
(ii) Brake failure
(i) Road elements
(ii) Surface Discontinuity
(iii) Road side features
(iv) Signs & Signals
(v) Fog & Smoke
Suggestive measures to prevent Road Accidents include:
1. Road safety awareness to be raised among road users to prevent severe accidents as Heavy vehicles like trucks and Dump trucks (Tippers) are involved in maximum number of accidents on two-lane roads. It is estimated that fatalities caused by truck is 59 % followed by other (26%), bike (7%), jeep (5%) and bus (3%).
2. The accident rate can be decreased by road side clearance, proper maintenance of shoulder, lighting, and junction improvement. And, at the same time Speed limit should be brought down by providing humps near accident spots. Sight distance near curves should be obstruction free.
3. The accident rate can be reduced by providing signalized junction, junction improvement, and shoulder Clearance, installation of humps, shifting of poles, removal of trees near the edge of pavement etc.
4. The accident rate can also be minimized by clearing-off shoulders, junction improvement, providing signals on the median, shifting structures on the shoulder.
5. Speed limit reduction near junction should be reduced to prevent accidents.
—The author is an M.Tech in Transportation Engineering from LPU , Jalandhar. He can be reached at: email@example.com