poor in India are in any way leading a life of misery and hopelessness but if
anyone among them were to die in a road accident, the misery for the affected
family would only increase in magnitude. A road crash merely leads to a double
whammy for the poor.
than 75 percent of poor households in India reported a decline in their income
as a result of a road traffic crash. The financial loss for the poor amounted
to more than seven month’s household income, while it was equivalent to less
than one month’s household income for rich households, says a new World Bank
“Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society,” the
report highlights the disproportionate impact of a road crash on poor
households that pushes them into a vicious cycle of poverty and debt. It sheds
light on the links between road crashes, poverty, inequality, and vulnerable
road users in India.
only one per cent of world's vehicles, India accounts for 11 per cent of all
crash related deaths . A crash death happens every four minute in India.
Crashes on India's roads claim the lives of about 150,000 people and disable at
least an additional 750,000 each year, large share of which are pedestrians and
cyclists, mainly representing working age adults from the poorest strata of
study was done in collaboration with SaveLIFE Foundation – a national
non-governmental organisation focused on road safety. Based on the survey data
collected from four Indian states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and
Maharashtra the research assesses the social, financial, gender, and
psychological impacts of road crashes on poor and disadvantaged households.
report recommends policy-oriented approaches for saving lives and improving the
ability of victims and their families to get back on their feet, including
providing immediate financial, medical and legal aid.
have taken a number of positive initiatives to reduce road crash deaths in
India. With the support of all stakeholders in our society, I am committed to
reducing road crash deaths by 50 percent by 2025,” said Nitin Gadkari, Minister
for Road Transport & Highways and the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprise at the release of the report. “This report highlights the link
between poverty and impact of road crashes. I urge all state governments to
effectively implement the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 and work
together to mitigate the effects of road crashes on poor and disadvantaged
sections of the population,” he added.
report also brings out the sharp rural-urban divide and the disproportionate
impact on women. The survey shows that the income decline for low-income rural
households (56 percent) was the most severe compared to low-income urban (29.5
percent) and high-income rural households (39.5 percent). Women bore the burden
of crashes across poor and rich households, often taking up extra work,
assuming greater responsibilities, and performing care giving activities after
a crash. About 50 percent of women were severely affected by the decline in
their household income after a crash. About 40 percent of women reported a
change in their working patterns post-crash, while around 11 percent reported
taking up extra work to deal with the financial crisis.
study also documented low rates of access to insurance coverage and poor
awareness related to legal compensation among truck drivers. Two-thirds of
truck drivers interviewed for the survey were not aware of third-party
liability insurance. None of the drivers had applied for or benefited from
cashless treatment at hospitals, Solatium Fund for hit and run cases or
crashes can have a devastating and disproportionate impact on the poor,
thrusting a family into deep poverty,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice
President for the South Asia region. “The World Bank is committed to supporting
the Indian government in creating safety nets for poor households to ease their
financial burden and help them cope with the sudden emergency linked to road
crashes,” he added.
addition to the financial losses, the report highlights the social impact of
road traffic injuries. About 64 percent of low-income households reported a
deterioration in their standard of living (more than twice reported by
high-income households), while more than 50 percent reported mental depression
findings of the report identify the areas that require immediate improvements
such as efforts towards post-crash emergency care and protocols, insurance and
compensation systems. It also presents an opportunity for development agencies,
policymakers and respective state governments to prioritize a complete policy
overhaul of the existing system and implement sustainable solution-oriented,
inclusive measures to improve their performance on road safety,” said Piyush
Tewari, CEO and founder of SaveLIFE Foundation.
report recommends making health infrastructure and coverage more accessible and
inclusive; providing social security net for crash victims from low-income
households through state support; creating an accessible legal framework for
availing insurance and compensation for road crash victims; recognizing the
gender impact of road crashes and addressing it through participative
governance and special schemes for women; and strengthening post-crash support
for children and young adults through state support.
study interviewed around 2500 respondents, including 1647 respondents from
low-income households, 432 from high-income households and 420 truck drivers in
the four selected states (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar representing Low-Capacity
States and Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra representing High-Capacity States) across
urban and rural areas. The qualitative part of the study included focus group
discussions with road crash survivors and their family members and in-depth
interviews with adolescents aged 14-18 years.