A report published by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, states that the population , of India in the age group of 15-34 has increased from 353 million in 2001 to 430 million in 2011 and would peak at 464 million by 2021. 64% of the population would be in the working age group by 2020. Another statistics that are worth noting are that, India has recorded the fastest growth of 7.64% in Jan to November 2015, in the passenger car segment. This is fastest amongst the 8 major auto markets in the world. 75,000 people, aged between 15-34 were killed in road accidents in 2014, with 82% of the fatalities being males. This is 53.8 % of the total accident fatalities in India, while 35.7% of the total fatalities were in the age band of 35-64 in 2014.
If we connect the dots, 3 things stand out, first being that the burgeoning youth population due to an improved economy and plethora of financing options available would be the main driver of the automobile growth in India. Second, if the current trend continues, we are going to see roads choc a bloc with cars and bikes, driven by youngsters, competing for their rightful space with middle aged veterans. Lastly, if the population, across the age bands are not sensitized as regards to road safety, the number of road fatalities would increase, with youth bearing the brunt of it, even if they are not the culprits.
We, Indians are proud of our rich Indian culture, traditions, customs etc. However one thing we should not be proud of is our utter disregard for rules and rank indiscipline prevailing amongst our drivers coupled with a general lack of traffic sense!.
Do we really need to break the traffic signal, when a few minutes of delay would not harm anyone. Traffic signals are meant to regulate the flow of traffic and a sudden intrusion of vehicle into the normal flow of traffic can cause havoc.
Is there a need to text and drive? Can’t those WhatsApp conversations take a back seat, when the most important priority is to reach your destination safely? I am sure, all of us have the basic intelligence to understand this and act accordingly?
Why park cars/bikes at the road corners? This is a common occurrence across the length and breadth of the country. It blocks the view of the driver wanting to take a left/right turn and thus posing a grave risk not only to him, but to the incoming traffic as well. Similarly why gossip, by standing at the street corners. I know that India has lot of national past times and Gossiping definitely figures in the top 5, but then you can gossip by standing at the roadside and ensure that you are not blocking the flow of traffic.
Why walk on the roads when there are footpaths available devoid of encroachments? Can we not walk on the footpath rather than walking on the road and blocking the flow of traffic? This is however, possible when the footpath is not encroached upon which is a rarity in our cities. There have been cases, wherein groups of people , instead of walking in a straight line, walk by forming a horizontal line, thus blocking the flow of traffic and resulting in unnecessary use of horn. Do we need an Ivy league education, or education from IIT/IIM to understand that this causes great discomfort to lots of drivers? Can’t this be imbibed through common sense ?
Imitating John Abraham, Hritik Roshan, Abhishek Bacchan, Paul Walker, Van Diesel, by riding bikes/cars at high speeds, and racing against each other can give you the momentary adrenalin rush. The target audience, for which you have organised this show may be momentarily impressed by your stunts and bravado, but think of the injury and the pain you would cause to an accident victim or his family, if your stunts go awry.
The youth of the country should not drink and drive and similarly should discourage drunk driving as that is the major cause of accidents amongst the youth.
Avoid use of high beam lights, when there is adequate street light at night. This causes immense discomfort to lot of drivers who have to squint their eyes when a beam of intense light is focused on their eyes, momentarily blinding them. This is a major source of accidents.
The list is endless… The youth of today are the innovators, creators, future leaders, of tomorrow. The future is in their hands and they should practice road safety and also propagate road safety amongst others. They can do so by holding street shows, distributing pamphlets and also by responsible behaviour. They should also discourage disobedience of traffic rules by explaining the perils in doing so. They should not preach, rather they should ask the offenders why are they committing an offence? Seldom, would there be a genuine answer for this act and the offender would immediately realize his folly and fall in line.
It is a long road and as clichéd’ it may sound, the journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. Take that single, right step so that India’s roads can be free of danger and driving becomes a pleasure, not a pain.