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Thursday, February 23, 2012

India loses $20bn/yr to mishaps

Estimate Enough To Feed 50% Of Malnourished Kids, Cellphone Use Top Culprit

New Delhi: India loses $20 billion (Rs 4919 crore approx) due to road accidents annually, which the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates is enough to feed 50% of the nation's malnourished children. Officially, at least 1.34 lakh people died on Indian roads in 2010, while experts claim the figure could be about 1.5 lakh considering the under reporting of such cases. 

    WHO representative in India Dr Nata Menabde while addressing international road safety experts, including the senior IPS officers at a convention held at College of Traffic Management (CTM) in Faridabad, said there is a dire need to save the vulnerable road users to reduce the huge annual financial loss. She urged that strategies have to be devised to save lives, particularly pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders besides putting curbs on drunk driving and stricter enforcement of wearing of helmets and seat belts. 
    "We need to see how we build our 
road, investigate properly how accidents occur and police probe these cases. There should be one group or body that should bring all sectors together, and it should announce a plan to reduce fatalities," Menabde said. 
    International experts felt that the high use of mobiles while driving is increasing the accidents globally. "The chance of accidents increase four-fold in such cases," said Adam Briggs, former chief constable of the UK. 
    CTM president Rohit Baluja said that to reduce the accidents and fatalities on Indian roads, there is a need to have proper probe to unearth the cause of accidentsEven senior traffic officials from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Haryana, Rajasthan admitted that the investigators often have little training to probe accident cases. "The usual course of investigation is on predictable lines: bigger vehicle is the culprit, dead is the victim and alive is the accused. We need to find the reasons behind such accidents as it is done in other countries," said Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of Mumbai Traffic Police. 

Road accidents reduce in US, increase in India 
New Delhi: While the number of road accidents and fatalities has reduced in developed countries such as the US, the UK and Germany between 2008 and 2010 due to financial meltdown, the toll has increased significantly in India. Global road safety experts said the recession is linked to reduced miles travelled by vehicles and that has a direct impact on accidents and deaths. However, in India, the fatalities have increased from 1.20 lakh in 2008 to 1.34 lakh in 2010. TNN


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