Ending the Love Affair between Drivers and Speed in India?
When a motorist drives a vehicle at a high speed and exceeds the posted speed limit, he is said to be speeding. And speeding or dangerous driving by Indian motorists is a norm in the country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 48,654 people died in 2014 in road crashes due to speeding, accounting for almost 33% of the total accident cases that year.
In its assessment of the enforcement of speed limits, the World Health Organization’s Status Report on Road Safety 2015 gave India an abysmal 3 out of 10. Though setting lower speed limits is an exercise that is followed by traffic enforcement authorities across the world, logic dictates that motorists continue to drive at a speed that they may think is safe, even if it means blatantly disregarding the speed limit signboard displayed on a road or highway. For example, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway has a posted speed limit of 80 km/h — the lowest for any expressway in the world –– and yet it has the highest number of crashes and fatalities for a highway of its quality.
A study conducted by the Institute of Road Traffic Education found that 100% of vehicles in India drive above the posted speed limit on select National Highways, even at spots with speed limit signs. The study further showed the unscientific nature in which speed limits were assigned, not factoring in vehicular capabilities, road geometry, and even road quality.
Even though India’s population is smaller than its neighbor China’s and the count of vehicles on its roads is much lower than those in the US, India registers the highest number of road fatalities in the world. China, which was once ahead of India in the number of road deaths, has managed to reduce them from over 100,000 to 90,000 or so, but the situation in India, instead of becoming better, has worsened.
Each year, around 500,000 accidents happen on Indian roads and highways, ending the lives of some 150,000 people. The roads witness one accident every minute, and one death every four minutes. Inadequate laws, poor road safety enforcement, and a perception that accidents are inevitable have all become a norm in India.
While in high-income countries speed contributes to about 30% of deaths on the road, in some low-income and middle-income countries such as India, speed is estimated to be the main contributory factor in almost all road crashes and fatalities on its roads.
One of the simplest and easiest ways to bring down the number of road crashes happening on Indian roads is to control vehicle speed. Pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving a crash if hit by a vehicle at 30 kilometers per hour or below, but a less than 50% chance of surviving if the impact is caused by a vehicle moving at 45 kilometers per hour or above.
All drivers, while taking their driving education course, are taught that speeding is dangerous. Yet they engage in speeding and contribute to speed-related fatalities. Why? What makes people step on the gas and endanger lives? What is it exactly that drives motorists to indulge in speeding?
Studies show that there are a variety of motivations that lead a driver to speed. Experts found that speeding is a type of aggressive driving behavior and several factors cause people to resort to such life-threatening daredevilry on the road. Traffic congestion is supposedly the primary factor that leads to speeding, along with situations when one is running late for school or work, or getting late for some other important appointment. But in the case of some drivers, it was found that speeding was their usual driving behavior. It was observed that such drivers had no regard for other motorists or pedestrians on the road or even for the law. Thus, motives for exceeding the prescribed speed limit are both rational and emotional, and they depend on the temporary state of the driver or the situation existing at that time.
The traffic and road accident scenario in India is exacerbated by poor enforcement of traffic safety rules and myopic policies that the policy makers formulate. In order to enforce speed limits on drivers, radar speed signs, speed monitoring cameras, and speed limiting governors in vehicles can be useful to slow down fast-moving drivers and reduce the number of fatalities.
With the introduction of Traffic Logix SafePace Radar Speed Signs in India, there has been a significant improvement in the overall traffic movement system. It has also resulted in calming the traffic movement at premier locations across cities where they have been successfully installed.
Traffic Logix India provides road safety solutions to address the epidemic of traffic deaths in cities across India. The SafePace radar speed signs raise awareness when drivers cross the posted speed limits. The speed signs flash to alert speeding motorists to slow down and help make roads safer.
SafePace Radar Speed Signs are designed to slow cars down and make streets safer for everyone. The speed signs feature displays which increase contrast and driver viewability to ensure motorists can understand the intended message at a glance.
Following in the footsteps of the Chandigarh traffic authorities, Kolkata traffic officials too explored several options to reduce speeds and encourage safer driving on the city’s roads. They opted for Traffic Logix SafePace Radar Speed Signs. With the introduction of these radar signs, traffic movement became a lot safer and less risk-prone. The use of radar speed signs resulted in reining in instances of traffic mishaps due to speeding or rash driving at premier locations across the city. Also, the rate of speed violations was reduced by over 28% in the busy and congested city of Kolkata.
A unique feature that makes SafePace signs a world leader in traffic calming signs is the presence of SafePace Cloud. This web-enabled feature helps traffic officials control the signs, access data, and adjust settings from anywhere, anytime with remote access.
With the ability to connect to and control the speed display signs from any internet-connected device, the SafePace Cloud is an extremely intelligent and innovative way of monitoring traffic. It allows users to view real-time sign data, access all sign stats from one location, download detailed traffic data and reports, set up customized alerts, change settings and parameters, and also cut down on workforce hours.
Before and after studies show that radar speed signs have proved to be consistently effective at reducing speeds of vehicles by almost 10% and slowing drivers down, including lowering traffic volumes on city roads. This has led to creating a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists on the roads.
The setting up of radar speed signs has shown that it’s not impossible to prevent road traffic incidents in India, provided the governments and authorities take action in a holistic and concerted manner. Involving the transport, police, health, education, and several such departments can help find a comprehensive and long-term solution.
It’s clear by now how road accidents are an epidemic in India. The road accident figures now pose an economic problem too. Numbers show that the nation loses 3% of its GDP, close to a whopping 58 billion dollars, every year due to road accidents. Following road safety rules and measures will not only save lives of several Indian citizens, but also better their quality of life.