Road Safety and Public Health in IndiaFunding None.
Injuries place immense burdens on hospitals and health systems, and road crashes are preventable causes of injuries. Due to the ongoing socioeconomic and demographic changeover amid growing urbanization in India, road traffic injury (RTI) will hold fifth position as major killer by 2020 with an estimated 550,000 deaths.  From an agrarian base, India is in transition to an industrialized country with a very high productive population, which has resulted in an alarming increase in the use of mechanized transport. This has caused a spurt in vehicular density similar to other nations undergoing rapid economic growth. However, this spurt is so rapid that there is a gap to ensure road safety parameters. Additionally, there is global competition to invent increasingly sophisticated and faster vehicles, which becomes a cause for concern due to an increase in road crashes each year.
Official statistics in India regarding serious injuries out of the road crashes needs to be strengthened to estimate the actual number.  There is a need to identify the reasons for underreporting, address the major challenges related to injury prevention, prehospital trauma care, and disability limitation. The first step in RTI prevention and safety is to identify risk factors at all levels of civilized society under the jurisdiction of the local governance. In this regard, there is a need to create awareness in the community, and identify the barriers and continuous positive efforts by local bodies to arrange regular sensitization programmes for the community.  It is really interesting to note that roads in India are always repaired during or before monsoon; as a result, they have the potential to get washed away with the slightest showers.
Research and action agenda suggested by the experts to confront disparities in addressing RTIs are as follows: establishment of routine collection and reporting of fatalities and nonfatal injuries from RTIs in low-income and middle-income countries; and intervention strategies such as identification of interventions with flawless benefits to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists and road users in low- and middle-income countries. There is an urgent need for the Union and provincial governments to spend more resources on road safety ranging from infrastructure to capacity building and scale up efforts for population-based national database on road crashes for proactive mitigation as well as effective intervention programmes.   There will be a further need for a global plan to develop road safety management protocols, safer roads, mobility guidelines, and technologies to develop safer vehicles, ensuring awareness and safe use of roads and protocols to guide postcrash responses.
23 September 2020 (online)
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