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Riding without helmets and over speeding are among the major risk factors for road injuries in city: Study reveals

Experts, representatives from educational institutions, police, transport department larger group of road users and social communities had a detailed meet to chalk out effective interventions to make this stretch of road safer for its users

Bengaluru, 27 Feb 2018: A roundtable discussion was organized today in the city by Institute of Public Health (IPH) with the support of AXA Business services under the banner of ‘Safer roads Bengaluru’ initiative. This was organised to discuss the issues pertaining to the selected stretch of road, Hebbal to KR Puram, based on the recent study findings conducted by Institute of Public Health (IPH) in association with Padmashree school of public health and to chalk out effective interventions possible to improve practices and make this road safer. This roundtable meeting witnessed the participation of individuals from varied fields including road users especially of this stretch, government officials, educational institutes, public health experts and road safety experts giving their inputs and suggestions to develop effective interventions.

Addressing the media, Dr. Pragati Hebbar, said, “We had selected Hebbal-KR Puram stretch of road for our study, as this is one of the major crash prone roads in the city. Our main aim of the study is to understand the problems in this selected stretch of road and to tailor effective interventions seeking opinions from all category of road users. This study was conducted in the month of January and preliminary analysis of the data reveal issues related to safe driving practices, awareness about road safety laws, driving without licenses to name a few.  The findings of this study and inputs from our roundtable will help tailor interventions to effectively bring about change in the coming years”

Through this baseline survey we interacted with 1175 respondents utilizing the selected stretch of road. The survey questions aimed to elicit knowledge related to road safety, driving practices and perceptions of the participants regarding the roads, government concern and their observations on the selected stretch. Key preliminary findings of the study reveal that the knowledge scores and ability to identify common traffic signs were highest among bus and four-wheeler drivers compared to two and three wheelers and lowest among bus and auto passengers and pedestrians. Although 66% of individuals stated that they were aware of road safety laws only 29% knew the correct fine amounts and only 9% knew the blood alcohol level. Around 30% of the sample had driven a vehicle in the past three months without a valid license. Riding without helmets was reported to be the most commonly observed violation she added.

Shri. Rame Gowda, retired IAS officer and former commissioner of transport who participated in the round-table discussion held on the same day said, “Around 72 lakh vehicles are currently registered in Bengaluru and it is constantly increasing, the slow infrastructure development to cater to this large number of vehicles adds to the traffic congestion. The driver, the vehicle as well as the road are very important aspects in road safety and how these three interact with each other can result in either a safe drive or a crash. It is very important that all the departments concerned with road safety should work together taking the help and support of civil society in planning effective and suitable interventions to improve the situation of road safety in the city.”

Shri. Narayana Swamy, Additional Commissioner of transport and Director of State Road Safety Authority who was present at the meeting held on the same day said, “every day we see more young people violating the traffic rules, especially college students. It is a very important that parents should educate their children about the traffic rules and make sure their children have good knowledge about driving and safety with proper driving license before gifting them the bike or car and allowing them on road. Over speeding is also one of the other major issue leading to deaths and injuries in this stretch, enforcement is only one aspect but awareness and self-adhering to traffic rules will also help in reducing crash rate.” He added.

Dr. Asha Abhikar, Deputy Director Road Safety Authority, Government of Karnataka addressed the media and explained the pivotal role played by the authority in steering various sectors to reduce crashes in Karnataka. She also highlighted that there has been a positive development in terms of reduction of the number of crashes in 2018 compared to 2017 in Karnataka and that we should work collaboratively to bring down the numbers.

Dr. Umashankar, Principal, Padmashree School of Public Health speaking at the occasion stressed on the need for sustainable collaborations across institutions to address the issue of road safety. Based on the findings of the survey we will be working with IPH to implement the interventions in the selected stretch of road especially targeting the youth in the schools and colleges within the area.

Experts from transport department, education department, traffic police, road crash survivors, road users of that specific stretch had participated in the roundtable and gave valuable suggestions based on their experience and findings of the study for tailoring the interventions effectively to the local context.

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