Road Traffic Accidents – A Serious Concern

An accident or a mishap is an “unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity.” (1) Accidents are a major cause of preventable morbidity, mortality and disability. In 2002, out of all deaths, about eight percent were due to accidents. (2) In the classification of accidents, according to the international classification of diseases, motor vehicle accidents and suicide are two major causes of accidental deaths. In the last few decades, the number of accidents is increasing very rapidly, especially road traffic accidents. Road traffic injuries are becoming a major cause of death in most countries. Road traffic accidents constitute an important cause of preventable morbidity, mortality and disability.

Out of all accidental deaths, motor vehicle accidents contribute the highest number. Current road traffic accidents rank ninth among the leading causes of death in the world. Additionally, according to WHO estimates of 2002, around 180,500 children under 15 years of age were killed as a result of road crashes. 90% of road traffic accidents were in low and middle income countries and only 10% of road traffic accidents took place in high income countries. (7) It is expected to be the second leading cause of death by the year 2020, subsequent to coronary heart disease.

In India, the trend of road traffic accidents is expected to increase, which is not only due to population explosion, but also owing to industrialization and urbanization, including motorization, predisposed by lack of awareness and safety precautions. India accounts for as high as 6% of the world’s road traffic accidents, although it has only 1% of the world's vehicles. (9) Our country holds the highest rate of road traffic accidents in the world – one death every four minutes.

In 2010, the number of people who died in road accidents was a staggering 160,000 across the country. The accident rate in India is ...

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