India’s roads are among the most dangerous in the world. The number of deaths from road accidents has risen sharply over the past decade. More than one million people have lost their lives in the past 10 years alone and another 5.3 million have been disabled or disfigured for life. The government of India has released countless road safety advertisements over the years. In spite of this the number of road accidents has not decreased over the years. Recently Sachin Tendulkar uploaded a video on Facebook where he is seen telling a woman riding pillion on a scooter to wear a helmet. The video went viral on the internet and is a telling reminder that India is still seriously lacking in road safety. Road accidents are not only traumatic for victims and their families but also take a huge economic toll on the country. The large majority of road accident victims are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - mostly from the economically weaker sections of the society – making road safety a matter of an important national priority.


Helmets

For cyclists and bikers, helmets are the most effective protection in the event of an accident. They reduce the risk of head and brain injuries by up to 88%. Some countries including India have made helmets mandatory for bikers and cyclists when on any main roads. Helmets are extremely important for motorcyclists, especially in developing countries where motorcycle usage is very high and helmet usage is low. In India, helmet use is not cool in popular culture, but that is changing slowly. We have countless scenes in Indian movies where the lead actors are seen riding recklessly without a helmet. With stricter laws enforcement things are slowly changing in India.


Seat Belts

Today, you are half as likely to be killed in a car crash as 30 years ago because of the various improved safety features such as airbags and advanced electronics designed to keep you safe. Probably the best safety device ever developed, however, is the seat belt: it can reduce the risk of death in the event of a crash by up to 60%. The introduction of mandatory seat belt laws in many countries including India has increased their usage. Rigid enforcement of compulsory seat belt for all drivers has played an important part in making seat belt usage integral to driving.


Speed Limitation

Speed influences both the risk of a crash and its consequences. There are a variety of ways to reduce vehicle speeds, including legislation, speed breakers, road design, and stricter enforcement (e.g. speed cameras). One innovative idea is Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), a system in which the vehicle 'knows' the speed limit for the road it is driving on, and activates visual and audio signals if speeds are exceeded. In India the bad state of roads automatically plays a deterrent in reducing speed but on highways drivers need to keep the speed of their vehicles in check.


Keep your Phone Away

It is time to develop a new habit and wait to use your cell phone while driving. Consider, we go to the theatre to watch a movie, we take a flight to for a new and exciting adventure and we are told to wait, don’t use your cell phone and we are able to do it. Those actives are not putting our lives at risk, and the one time it could cost us our life or serious injury, we don’t wait. Change is hard, for everyone. But we can all change, for our family, our friends and ourselves.