I talked about taking ownership and continuous participation of people in democracy in my last article. I would like to take that conversation ahead but let me begin with a story today.
A young man was passing through a jungle. He suddenly felt a reverberation behind him. He turned around and saw a gigantic bear. It was staring at him. He started moving away from it, but obdurate bear started walking towards him. He started moving faster. Bear also followed him at higher pace and even bigger steps. Now, frightened boy was running at his best but realised that he could not win the race from bear. So, he decided to do something unlikely. While running away, he suddenly turned around. Bear was taken aback. Now the entire picture was contrary. Boy was running behind and bear was breaking away.
The same is happening with us when it comes to road safety. We were running away from the bear and blaming the fate for all accidents. We need to turn around and face the bear. Face the fear. More than 140000 people are dying on Indian Roads every year and around 1400000 are getting injured, fatal or otherwise. These are data that we could count. Nobody is able to count the number of people who are left dead alive. We are losing thousands of our loved ones on roads every day. I do not find anybody around me who has not seen the misery of road accidents. Each one of us has been affected by it directly or indirectly at some or the other point of time in our lives. I wonder what more do we need as wake up call. Why do we want government to remind us to wear helmet or seatbelt or not to use mobile phone or not over-speed or not to drink and drive? Why do we need government to remind us about the safety of our own life? What has happened to us? I believe we need to come out of the era when accident was considered to be matter of fate. UNO says ‘Accidents are predictable and thus, preventable’.
November 25th of every year has been identified as World Remembrance Day for the road accident victims. The best way to pay our homage to our loved ones whom we have lost in road accidents would be to make our roads safer. In order to understand road safety we need to work on four important pillars. First, Engineering of our roads needs to be improved dramatically to reduce the probability of road accidents. Second, Enforcement of already existing laws and strengthening of laws must be ensured. Third, Emergency services must be made more efficient so that we can save lives of people within the first golden hour of the accident and fourth, Educating people about the safer ways to drive on the roads so that they can keep themselves and other safe on the roads. We must as a nation call for the war against this social evil of rash driving and road accidents.
The character of any nation can be judged by the way people drive on its roads. Let us make our roads the safest roads in the world! It is doable. But we need to do it deliberately. There are no accidents!