UN road safety campaign launched in India (Lead)May 11th, 2011 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) A plan to stabilise and then reduce road traffic fatalities globally by 2020 was launched in India along with 100 countries Wednesday. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India tops the global list of deaths in road accidents.
The UN decade of Action for Road Safety was launched jointly by the International Road Federation (IRF), Institute of Road Traffic Education, (IRTE), AIIMS Apex Trauma Centre, department of road transport and highways, and the central government.
The plan, developed by the WHO, enjoins all concerned agencies and groups, including road users, to work together to strengthen preventive programmes, improve trauma care, and monitor progress achieved.
“As per the WHO’s global status report on road safety, India tops the global list of deaths in road accidents with 125,000 fatalities and at least 2.2 million serious injuries each year. India accounts for 10 percent of global road accident deaths,” a UN statement said.
The campaign aims to reduce road accident deaths by 50 percent by 2012.
An official of the department of road transport and highways said: “A scheme with the joint input of the ministry of health and family welfare and the ministry of road transport and highways for up-gradation of trauma care facilities on national highways has been drawn up.
“Trauma care facilities in 140 state government hospitals along the Golden Quadrilateral, North-South and East-West Corridors of national highways will be upgraded. Fully equipped ambulances will be provided at an interval of 50 km on completed sections of national highways,” the official added.
Rohit Baluja of IRTE said: “India sees 15 deaths because of road accidents every hour and 342 people die each day. In financial terms, as per a study by a working group of the Planning Commission, the country loses three percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on account of road accidents. Yet very little has been done to avert this.”
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