Although situations in the rich and poor countries vary widely when it comes to road accidents, there seems to be a strong correlation between economic status and risk of injury and death in these events.
That is the sense we get from statistics reported by The Guardian in this piece. There is considerable congruence between the experiences in India and the UK, and perhaps elsewhere, on the plight of pedestrians. The English report indicates that people in the deprived neighbourhoods, particularly pedestrians and children, are particularly vulnerable.
There is considerable evidence available on the horror of pedestrian life in India. In the last two years, many high-powered cars have been launched in India that make it even more difficult to use the roads, because of the simple fact that people cannot run fast enough across crossings, to keep out of the way of these rapidly accelerating cars driven by semi-literate drivers.
A virulent epidemic on India’s roads is being witnessed, with unskilled youth taking to the wheels of high powered cars. These drivers have no road sense, or regard for the rights of various classes of road users. The Government has generally withdrawn, abdicating its role in the areas of construction infrastructure and enforcement.
It is no wonder that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways at the Centre has estimated the number of people killed annually in India’s roads at 100,000 plus. The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi’s Transportration Research and Injury Prevention Programme has estimated that injuries in India are grossly underreported. According to its researched figures, the number of injuries is about 15 times the number of death. That means 1.5 million Indians grievously wounded in each year, with consequences for economic productivity, societal well-being and familial peace and happiness.
It is a monumental shame.