Those who have driven in developed countries and then driven in India will realize the stress that this activity brings about when you drive on the roads in India.

Figure 1 A common sight on Indian roads in 2014

 

Often this stress is not recognised by the majority of Indians because they have not simply experienced anything different.

Figure 2 How road safety works

There are rules and simple measures which can bring down the stress associated with driving by over 90%. Take for instance the universal respect or the STOP sign at intersections, which does not even require any electricity or high technology.

After the demise of a Minister recently in a car accident in Delhi, the Government has woken up to the need for improving driving safety, as this report in today’s Hindustan Times Newspaper says:

 

6 Jun 2014, Hindustan Times (Mumbai)Moushumi Das Gupta letters@hindustantimes.com

‘Motor Vehicle Act will be upgraded to int’l standards’

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NEW DELHI: India’s Motor Vehicle Act will be re-drafted within a month in line with advanced international practices to enhance road safety, said road transport, highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday. The new bill may include measures such as installing CCTV cameras at traffic signals, redesigning heavy vehicles and centralising data to check misuse of driving licences.

 


 

NEW DELHI: Two days after Union minister Gopinath Munde died in a road accident, the NDA government on Thursday pledged to overhaul the 26-year-old motor vehicle law that it said wasn’t saving lives but spawning corruption instead.

“The law has become antiquated and lost its relevance. We will scrap it and bring in a fresh law. The broad contours of the new law will be ready in a month’s time,” Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said after a review of road safety regulations. Gadkari told officials at the review that the old law was mostly being used by cops to harass the public and make money.

 


 

As part of the overhaul process, Gadkari has directed ministry officials to study how countries such as United Kingdom and Singapore – which have fewer road fatalities compared to India — tackle traffic violations. “We will study best practices in ten countries before drafting our law,” he said.

India has one of the worst road- safety records in the world, with a road accident every minute and a fatality on the road every three-to-four minutes. Approximately 137,000 people died in road accidents in the country last year alone.

 


 

The 1988 Motor Vehicles Act was last amended in 2001. Several committees have been set up since then to recommend changes to the law. In March 2012, the UPA cabinet, for the third time after coming to power in 2004, approved the draft Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill that proposed hefty fines for traffic violations. However, low priority accorded to road safety issues ensured that the bill didn’t get cleared by Parliament.

Gadkari said that the proposed law would provide for greater technology-based interventions to minimize road accidents and check violations. “We want to cut down on human intervention. The reliance would be on sophisticated IT-based systems,” he said.


Road ministry officials said they want the new bill to be ready for introduction in Parliament during the budget session. “We are working on a war footing to draft the new law,” Gadkari said.

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2 thoughts on “Driving safety in India

  1. Hi! Dr SP, It is correct that India needs to scrap many old acts and practices but the most important thing is Driver Education, Most of the Indian Drivers get their license without being tested by the authorities, thanks to Corruption. Sandhu Driving in Chandigarh has been imparting quality driver education and training for almost a decade now. The motto is to ensure self safety and that for others.

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