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Road Safety

Accidents and particularly street and highway accidents, do not happen-they are causedErnest Greenwood. According to Cambridge dictionaries online, road safety refers to methods and measure that are issued to reduce risks of injury, death and harm to drivers, passengers and pedestrian. Road traffic injury is a major public health problem and leading cause to death and injury around the world. Each year nearly 1.2 million people died as a result of road traffic collisions. This means that on average 3242 people were killed to 50 million people were injured or disable in road collision. However, road traffic injures were the 11th leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 23% of all injury deaths worldwide. (WHO, 2005) I have included and focused more on the safety infrastructure and about the road users behavior, about the unsafe road and have mentioned about the issues and result. I have also written some points on where and where does it effect, about the risk factors, issues in Bhutan and how each issues is affected by each determinants of health, suggested some policies and programs that could be implemented in Bhutan and lastly I have interpreted the simple statistics on vehicle accident victims which gives the idea of commonly age impacted by road accident. This issue is preventable and my main aim here is to make youth understand about how important the road safety is for us and to the society and also to make aware of road safety as an own responsibility because this is not a issue that we cant get rid of or unpreventable, in fact everyone can adopt as an individual and social responsible to create a better environment and safe life.

According to WHO, every day around the world, almost 16,000 people die from all types of injuries. Injuries represent 12% of global burden of disease, the third most important cause of overall mortality, and main cause of overall mortality among 1 to 40 years old. According to WHO data, death from road traffic injures account for around 25% of all deaths from injury. WHO and World Bank in its report estimated the number of people killed in road traffic crashes at almost 1.7 million death, while the number of injured as 18 million people (WHO, 2004). According to WHO, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death by injury worldwide (20.3% of all deaths from injury). Road traffic injuries rank second to HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of ill- health and premature death for adult men aged 15-44 years. The study by WHO in 1996, Global Burden of Disease said that the people who have under gone treatment after accident injury later are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, persistent anxiety, depression and phobias. The most common part that is injured is at head, neck and back. Car accidents also frequently affect internal organs and upper and lower limbs. It is said that head and neck injuries may lead to permanent or temporary destruction of brains function. It had mentioned about the neck injury where there will be certain limitation of head movement and back injury may cause permanent disability if there is injure in spinal which include paralysis and difficulty in breathing, numbness and bladder control. The internal organs like bowels, kidneys, livers, lungs, heart and puncture lungs are also the cause the accident. Upper limbs like hands, forearms, arms, shoulders, wrist and fingers are also often injured and lower limbs like hips, legs, knees, heels, ankles and feet are also commonly damaged. (WHO, 1996)

According to World population prospects (2003) records, the most effected region because of low and middle income. They are African region, South East Asian region, region of Americas and Eastern Mediterranean region. It is said that though the world had adopted the road safety plans and have been following the rules and strategy; but yet some countries that are financially and economically weak are resulted more than 90% deaths from road injury. (World population prospects, 2003) Road accident mostly occurs if road condition outside urban areas is poor. For example if there is no proper lamentation of roads surface, if there is no proper sign boards etc. if the country is mountainous and hilly areas, the road is evidently very narrow and roads tends to have steep drop offs and blind curves which lead to accident. The best example of a country is Bhutan, where most of the roads are very narrow because of hilly areas. If there is heavy rainfall, there will be a risk of falling heavy rocks and landslides can block the roads and yet lead to accident. Bhutan receive heavy rainfall during winder and most areas are very foggy due to mountainous terrains and is also slippery that results to road accidents. Road accidents have an effect when most drivers drive during the night time and if the weather condition is really bad. Snowfall, floods and rainy season is also result to road accident and when the driver drives very recklessly without obeying the traffic laws, those who exceed the speed limits and if the driver is excessively under influence of alcohol or drugs will be the victim of road accident certainly leading to injuries and death. Secondly, the road defect which include poor infrastructure of road and bridge can cause the accident. According to RSTA in Bhutan always make aware to the Bhutanese drivers to make sure that there is a proper maintenance of their vehicle. Through my own knowledge, Traffic police in Bhutan do the regular inspect of the

vehicle because of the fear if operation could anytime lead to brake failure, tire blowout, power steering failure and headlight failure. The risk factors that lead to an effect of road accident are Economic factors such as level of economic development and social deprivation and if there is no hospital trauma care, it may lead to death and if road layout and design are not properly maintain, there is always a risk of causing accident. when Travelling in darkness and if the brake, handling and maintenance are not properly checked there is a risk factor of leading fatal injuries. If the road users have poor eye sight and if there is no adequate visibility, there will be hard for road users to detect vehicles and other road users and this lead to road accident. Issued affected by determinants of health like physical environment through my own understanding are that if the road is safe there will be no road accident taking place that cause to death and injuries sometimes. According to Burlington road safety committee (2003-2008) said that, The proper sign board, if there are rest areas if road users want to talk over phone or take some break while driving, if there is proper maintenance in potholes areas and speed breaker will help a lot in minimizing these issues. Social environment means if there is a great supports from families, friends and communities then there will be the better care and knowledge about being aware of those issues that one can get the information about road safety and this itself is a better safety that one can lead for his/her life. There is no such genetic inheritance that will affect road injury because man, women and youth or all the vulnerable road users will face accident if he/ she face all the above mentioned reason or if users are under influence of alcohol, drugs and if users drive recklessly. If road users

are not very concern of the road accident then he/she may not get influence of drugs and alcohol while driving. According to Road Safety plan (2010) had mentioned that, If the road users disobey the rules like over speeding, overtaking and not following the sign board, talking over phones while driving are the serious disrespect of rules. Issues in Bhutan Every year in Bhutan the motor vehicle accident rate has been drastically increasing from 318 in 2003 to 818 in 2004 and 1038 in 2005. (RSTA, 2011). RSTA (2011) had mentioned the reason that due to reckless driving including speed where for about 69% of accident cases are of road accident and also due to alcohol influence. Road condition, unlicensed driving, mechanical failure and weather condition is also the major problem faced by road users where about 52% of accident cases involved light vehicles, followed closely by truck accidents at about 40%. RSTAs record have also confirmed that about 66% of accidents have taken place between 12001800 hours with about 24% taking between 1800 hours to mid- night. RSTA (2011), 517 where 420 male and 97 female of population have died from road accident and out of 2306 where 1798 male and 508 female of population have died from road accident and out of 2306 where 1798 male and 508 female were injured over a period of nine years between 1997 to 2005. There are 258 cases involving pedestrian accidents were recorded during the period of 1997 to 2005 with 256 hit and run cases. Well, Bhutan is currently addressing the issue by educating all the people from the very first basic road safety rules in school, colleges and even in primary level. Under Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) and Royal Traffic police make the efforts to ensure safety being

made for all those who own a vehicle by checking the emission test. They even strictly checked alcohol and drugs test administered particularly during the weekends and government holiday with breathe analyzer and if driver are caught, they are ask to pay for the penalty anyhow without any excuse. Bhutan had set up speedometer on a highway to make aware to all the road users that they do not exceed the speed while driving. Traffic police will also check to see on drivers if they are making proper use of seat belts and if they have maintained well on head lights and engine etc. According to Road Safety (2010) they have also installed the emergency response system for free.

Sl.no

Month

Death(Male)

Death(Female)

Death(Minor)

Total

January

06

05

00

11

February

11

00

01

12

March

01

01

00

02

April

12

01

00

13

May

06

00

00

06

June

07

00

00

07

Sl.no

Month

Death(Male)

Death(Female)

Death(Minor)

Total

July

07

00

00

07

August

04

01

00

05

September

05

01

00

06

10

October

05

00

00

05

11

November

05

00

00

00

12

December

02

00

00

00

Motor Vehicle Accident Victims (Source: Road Safety &Traffic Management Division) as of 31 December 2012

Interpretation for the above diagram Through this statistic, I have come to the conclusion that the number of male (death) is higher in number comparing to female road users. Each year, there are 78 death causes due to road accident and its comparatively high than an injured number of people. There are only 7 injures which shows that the road safety act is important for our country to implement strictly or each road users must follow all the traffic rules and regulation to ensure that they are safe from the road accident.

I have suggested that the policy that Bhutan can better address the issues if Government and road safety organization adopt road safety action plans strictly mainly on these issues: If Vehicle is provided with well equipped air bag with a protected clothing if someone travels for a long journey. I feel that political party should not ignore this issue by any mean to ensure the safe environment in a long run. If Bhutan could reconstruct all the damaged roads and construct rest areas in every areas as possible to make road users comfortable whenever they want to receive a call rather than talking over phone while driving can also help lot more to prevent road accident. Awareness program and campaign must also include in policy because this are the main best thing to keep public aware and monitoring should be also done in potholes. RSTA must make public to encourage using of public transport as possible for safety.

So, as I conclude here, I feel that to ensure the road safety is best protection for the public. This issue is preventable and this is not at all an infectious disease where it could transfer from one place to another but people must be aware from all the dangerous risk. Both the road users and pedestrians must be aware of how dangerous is road accident that could even lead to death. So it is ones own responsible to be safe and protected from the issue Road Accident.

Reference
Burlington Road Safety Committee (2003-2008). Retrieved from www.burlingtonroadsafety.ca/solution.html

Roads and Traffic Authority (1999), Road safety 2010, Pedestrian Safety Action Plan 2002-2004, Sydney

Road Safety (2011), Road Safety and Transport of Authority. Bhutan, retrieved from http://www.rsta.gov.bt

WHO and World Bank. World report on road traffic injury prevention issued on World Health Day. 2004

World population prospects: the 2002 revision. Volume 1: Compressive tables. New York, United Nation, 2003