Road Safety

25 Nov 2018

Road and transport is an integral part of every human being in today’s fast-paced and busy world. Every person utilizes road in one way or another. The present day and advanced transport system have minimized the distances but has increased the risk of life on the other hand. We mostly see daily on tv news channels about road accidents resulting in loss of lives and serious injuries to people. In India, every year around 80,000 people are killed in road accidents. 

The reasons for road accidents are numerous but in most cases accidents occur either because of the carelessness of the driver or due to the lack of road safety awareness. To avoid the increasing number of crashes, it is very necessary to educate people regarding road safety. Road safety education is as essential as any other basic skill set for survival.

Road safety is referred to the various rules, regulations, and methods which are used to prevent road users from being seriously injured or killed. Various kinds of vehicles run on roads like a cycle, two-wheelers, three-wheelers, horse carts, bullock carts, cars, and public transport like buses, trucks, etc. Apart from this pedestrians use the road to reach from one place to another on foot. The basic purpose of road safety education is to lower the energy of impact in the event of any crash. It has gone through a lot of changes in the past few years which has reduced the number of fatalities on the roads. But still, over a million people are still involved in road accidents. Deaths and serious injuries caused by road crashes result in significant and impactful social and economic costs. Not only professional drivers, but there are also other working people as well who frequently required traveling by road. They pose risks to each other especially when it comes to youngsters. Young people between 15 to 24 years of age face the biggest risk in traffic as they make up 11% of the population. They love speed and thus end up crashing with other vehicles. Apart from this, pedestrians and cyclists also have a higher injury rate than other road users.

Improving road safety rules and regulations intend to decrease the risk of accidents and crashes. Accidents should also be investigated properly to remain alert and safe in the future. Work-related traffic accidents can be prevented by providing adequate training by the employers to their employees. Employers are responsible for the occupational safety of their employees, therefore, they should focus on the road safety policy by taking into consideration these points:

Various factors and pointers must be included in the training like how to report accidents, first aid, safe driving, loading of vehicles, impacts of high speed and rash driving, etc.

Knowledge about appropriate safety devices which must be carried with safe vehicles.

The realization of responsibilities for the maintenance of road and vehicles

Following rules like prohibiting using phone calls while driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol should be prohibited

Taking breaks while traveling on the road

Procedures involved for gathering and handling accident reports or near misses on the road.

Wearing of seat belts in buses as well

Another major factor which contributes to the increment of road accidents is the weather. The surface of the road gets altered when weather changes which increase the risk of skidding. The roads which get covered with snow increase the risk for pedestrians also. During foggy days, low pr inadequate visibility also results in road accidents and crashes. Some vehicles also have broken windows. Lack of lights and reflectors, darkness, poor weather, rain, and many more are some other major causes of accidents. Companies must ensure the installation of street lights on the roads that are leading to their workplace. This will increase the ability of drivers to see the traffic environment. Pedestrians and cyclists should be encouraged to wear reflective clothes which results in increased visibility, thus increasing the safety of everyone on the road.

There are various health conditions which are faced by professional drivers as they are exposed to prolonged sitting. They have little control over their ergonomic working conditions. Professional drivers tend to face the risk of musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, shoulders, and back. Not only prolonged sitting, but they are also even exposed to vibrations produced by the vehicles. These are some widespread problems which employers must consider by ensuring that the cabins of drivers are designed adequately. Exposure to dust, dirt, diesel fumes and the carcinogenic mixture is another problem which occurs in all sub-sectors including public transport as well. Suitable risk assessments must be conducted by the organizations for putting in place all reasonably practicable measures ensuring safe work-related journeys. Taking into consideration the diseases of workers, employers must be allocated to the nature of work-timing risks accordingly. They should ensure that their employers who drive for work are well-aware about the minimum legal eyesight standards. In addition, they can even conduct eyesight tests in office premises.

Communication devices must be avoided especially by professional drivers. Carrying out another task while driving distracts the driver possessing a risk of accident or crash. Hand-held mobiles are prohibited to use while driving in most of the countries. According to research, talking on the phone with the hands-free system also poses significant risks and is dangerous. Drivers must concentrate on driving including changing traffic conditions. 

Ministry of road transport and highways organizes road safety week every year in the month of January. Also, several cities have organized a variety of programs related to road safety, rules of driving, and cautions. In these programmes, a variety of educational banners, safety posters, safety films, pocket guides, and leaflets are distributed to on-road travelers. The methods and necessities of road safety are also explained to the commuters. They must understand the importance of wearing helmets and seat belts while driving. In these initiatives and efforts, many NGOs also participate in creating awareness about road safety. Essay competitions are also held in many schools for children to understand the significance of road safety measures.

By: Preeti Narula

Posted By - Assistant Editor