Road safety: A major killer in developing countries like India
Article: Adnan Hyder. 2004;82:240
16 April 2004 - Road safety is a major public health issue in developing and over-populated countries like India. Unsafe roads, unsafe vehicles and little concern about traffic rules to drivers and pedestrians alike make it a major killer. The three major ingredients of road safety(1)-improved vehicles, improved roadways and driver safety - are as a rule, disregarded in most of the developing countries(2).
A weak and often corrupt law enforcing machinery makes any legislation ineffective. This is why 85% of the annual 1.2 million deaths on road, occur in developing countries. In a country like India, this augments the disease burden and adds more stress on already under-funded public health system.
The change in this situation can be brought about by a strategic long-term effort to improve the roads, make vehicles safe and make traffic education compulsory. This effort has to be sustained, backed by strong political will and accompanied by population education. Even simple measures like bicycle helmets(3), prevention of drunk driving(4), use of seat belts(5) and improved lighting on roads(6) will count towards major reduction in deaths on road.
Milind S Deogaonkar MD. Fellow, Neural Transplantation and Gene Therapy Programme, Department of Neurosciences, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vernick JS, Teret SP. Making vehicles safer. American Journal of Public Health 2004:94:170.
- Jacobs G, Aeron-Thomas A, Astrop A. Estimating global road fatalities. TRL report 445. Crowthorne: TRL Limited, 2000.
- Robinson DL. Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws. Accid Anal Prev 1996; 28: 463-475.
- Adams J. Risk. London: UCL Press, 1995.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Achievements in public health, 1900-1999. Motor-vehicle safety: a 20th century public health achievement. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep MMWR 1999;48: 369-74.
- Renton F, Pond P. The effect of street lighting on the incidence of injury and death caused by road traffic crashes. Cochrane Library 2004.