Road crashes leave hundreds of people disabled and traumatized for life

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A fatal bicycle accident six years ago left Anirudh Dhiwan alive but took the full strength of his right hand. While driving, he lost control of his bicycle and collided with a truck at high speed. He is suffering from a brachial plexus injury which causes complete loss of strength in the affected area and causes tremendous pain which has no cure. Dhiwan is an example of willpower, as the tragic incident did not stop him from pursuing his passion for travel. However, he has now learned to value life and prioritize his health and fitness above all else. Today, he is independent, runs his department store and wants to buy an automatic car. The red flag of its history is that absolute vigilance on the road is essential to save a life.

India has one of the highest road accidents in the world

India’s road network is one of the busiest road networks in the world. No matter how valuable the roads are in getting from one place to another or in managing the movement of goods and services from producer to consumer, they are just as dangerous. You can never be sure that they are safe on the roads, even if they follow the mandatory safety guidelines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet, around 1.3 million people die each year from fatal road accidents. Between 20 and 50 million more people suffer from non-fatal injuries, many of which lead to disability.

India has only 1% of the total number of cars in the world, but accounts for 11% of road crash fatalities globally. A World Bank report mentioned that 75 percent of Indian households complained of a drop in their income following a road incident. Alarmingly, the financial loss in a poor household amounted to over seven months of their average income, while about one month of income in a wealthy household.

Victims must rebuild their lives

Those fortunate enough to have survived a fatal traffic accident must start from scratch to rebuild their lives, as the accident left them disabled for the rest of their lives. Ajeya Raj made his living bit by bit after surviving a major road accident almost 14 years ago that injured his spinal cord and tied him to a wheelchair. He didn’t let this become a major setback and took full charge of his life. Hailing from Jharkhand, the turning point for Ajeya was when he joined the Chandigarh Spine Rehabilitation Center as a public relations manager. With her motorized wheelchair, Ajeya can move her neck to paint and create beautiful works of art. He has also represented India on international platforms to play boccia, a precision ball sport practiced by athletes with physical disabilities. Her story is a testament to human resilience through which we also learn about the need for a strong post-crash care system. Ajeya’s quality of life has improved thanks to a motorized wheelchair; However, many people in India do not receive quality rehabilitation and care. Improving access to rehabilitation is essential to improve the lives of thousands of road accident survivors.

Talking to The logical Indian, Karuna Raina, Director of Public Policy and Research, SaveLIFE Foundation, said: “As we celebrate the potential of people with disabilities, let us not forget that each year more than 330,000 people are seriously injured or disabled. permanent due to road accidents which is the biggest contributor to disability in India. We need to tackle the burden of road accident morbidity to prevent injuries and disabilities in the first place and ensure an effective rehabilitation system ”.

Serious statistics of the NCRB report

The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) 2020 report on accidental deaths and suicides shows that Maharashtra had 22,211 crashes in the previous year, which left 17,165 injured and over 12,000 fatalities. The condition is similar in other states such as Tamil Nadu which has recorded more than 45,000 accidents, causing 50,551 injuries and 8,059 deaths. A survey by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation highlighted the concern of increasing disability among people due to road accidents. Besides physical injuries, mental agony is one of the main issues that people face when facing fatal accidents. The government provides a minimum compensation of 50,000 yen in the event of permanent disability, which only covers the tip of the cost of what the victims have to bear.

Talking to The logical Indian Regarding compensation and financial assistance for people with disabilities, Raina added: “The compensation received by road accident victims is often insufficient to cover the costs incurred. In many cases, payments are only made after lengthy processes, making low-income households particularly vulnerable to the costs of road accidents. The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 introduced reforms in the compensation process such as cashless treatment for all road accident victims, higher compensation for hit and run cases , the creation of the Road Accident Fund, and a provision for interim compensation. With the effective implementation of the law nationwide, it is hoped that there will be a change in the compensation process. “

What is the SaveLIFE Foundation?

SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to reducing the extremely high number of road traffic fatalities in India. The SLF combines in-depth research, including on-site accident investigation, with policy advocacy interventions and grassroots actions to save lives on Indian roads. The SLF is best known for its work to get India to pass a Good Samaritan Law and reduce the number of traffic fatalities on the Mumbai Pune highway by 30% within two years. following its partnership with the government of Maharashtra. Over the next few years, SaveLIFE Foundation will continue to advocate for system-level change and invest in real-time citizen and government engagement through technology platforms, training programs and its flagship Vision Zero initiatives. “.

As we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities to show our solidarity with them for their personal struggles, we must remember that reckless actions in public places could deny people the right to lead fulfilling lives. The people who survive road crashes aren’t the only victims of preventable human error; their families and the ongoing trauma they face is often one of the consequences most of us ignore.

Also read: Remembering the forgotten legend of Khudiram Bose on his birthday

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