moneyview | Consumer Education | January 15, 2016

The Economic Impact of Road Accidents and What We Can Do About It?

The economic impact of road accidents

Visualize this. A young woman rides a two wheeler. Even as she tries to navigate the traffic, she is talking and giggling endlessly into her phone, which is pressed between her ears and shoulder blades. In another quiet residential area, a young man rides his bike at a breakneck speed. As he nears a group of children, he swerves dangerously and without switching on his indicator, turns into a street at the same mind numbing speed. Not far away, a student runs after a bus and manages to get in. As the bus gathers speed, he holds on to the railing and hangs precariously. As pedestrians, drivers, parents and pillion riders , what do we do when we witness recklessness such as this? Perhaps we curse and pray that these rule breakers reach their destination without any jeopardy. We pray that there is no death and destruction along the way.

But accidents are the most tragic realty of our lives. According to Vijay Chibber, The Secretary of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, India accounts for nearly 10% of the total 1.3 million road accidents and according to the planning commission, this translates as the nation losing more than Rs.1 lakh crore in road accidents. The economic impact is the highest in the world. Yet road accidents are more than just a disturbing statistic. Very often, they mean a lifelong disability, death and loss of income for a family.

The disastrous effects of road accidents in a Nutshell

  • Sometimes, the victims of accidents take many months to recover. Extensive physiotherapy is required in cases, where the person has suffered serious injuries. Victims who are unable to afford expensive healthcare have to rely on family members for even basic functions like feeding themselves. This puts a strain on the resources. Productivity suffers. The quality of life declines.
  • Accident victims, who have been employed in unorganized sector such as construction at the time of their accidents, might eventually lose their job.
  • Loss of job compounds into many more problems for the family. Children might be forced to drop out of school. In such circumstances, they might even resort to begging and stealing.

How can you Prevent road accidents?

Although potholes, malfunctioning traffic lights, poor road conditions do play a major role in road accidents, majority of them can be prevented by practicing safe road practices: Here is what you can do:

  • Do not drive when you are under the influence of alcohol.
  • If you are riding a two wheeler, make sure that both you and the one sitting behind you on the pillion are wearing safety helmets.
  • Always put on the seat belt while driving.
  • Slow down when you see pedestrians crossing the streets.
  • Do not talk on the cell phone while driving.
  • Do not give your vehicle to underage teenagers, who do not have a license and who equate driving with speed.
  • Spread awareness about road safety among your friends and relatives.

If you are a person, who hasn’t given road safety a second thought, now is the time to make a beginning. It is the National Road Safety Week from 11th to 17th January, 2016. Wipe out the dust off your helmet , be gentle on roads, follow traffic rules and nurture your life, because your life is not yours alone. It belongs to many people who care for you and who depend on you for everything.

Sridevi Datta is a cost Accountant. After working as a Business-SME in a leading E-learning centre, she now  blogs regularly at The Write Journey.

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