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Can Indian Highways Be Transformed from Killer-Ways to Safe-Ways? Dire Need for a Multi-Pronged Government Strategy

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: Having earned the dubious distinction of being ranked No.1 amongst 199 countries for having the highest number of road accidents annually since the year 2016, India stares at a problem of gargantuan proportions. In the year 2019 alone, there were as many as 449,002 occurrences, resulting in 151,113 fatalities and leaving 451,361 injured. Populous nations like China which underwent a similar predicament in the past, have progressively reduced the incidents substantially, even as the numbers kept growing in India. After the issue was put on the backburner for decades by successive Governments since independence, there is a perceptible change, with some new initiatives being taken up in recent years. Despite a decline in number of accidents since the year 2015, a lot needs to be done further to achieve and sustain the 50 reduction in road accident fatalities by the end of year 2020, committed in the Brasilia declaration 2015. Accomplishing the object is still a possibility, albeit a substantial reduction this year due to COVID-19 related lockdowns. However, sustenance of low accident levels after return of normalcy is still a challenge. This paper examines how the entire Government machinery and regulatory bodies can join hands and work in tandem to stop the bloodshed happening on Indian highways, making it safer for all road users, particularly the vulnerable ones like pedestrians, two wheelers and non-mechanized vehicles.

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