• 1.24 million people worldwide are killed and 50 million people are injured in road accidents every year: World Health Organization
  • Every year 1,40,000 die in road accidents in India: WHO’s global safety report
  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-44 years
  • Half of those dying on the roads are ‘Vulnerable road users’—pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists

Guwahati, January 6, 2015: Road traffic accidents (RTA) have silently become an epidemic in Assam. Inadequate attention to road safety is adversely affecting the state’s socio-economic health. RTA accounted for 50.4% deaths in Assam last year, surpassing the national average of 36.4%. This alarming information, contained in a report on ‘State of Youth Health: Road Traffic Accidents – An Emerging Epidemic’, was released at a press conference held at Guwahati Press Club today, by Guwahati-based multi-specialty hospital chain, GNRC Hospitals. Highlighting that young people aged between 15-44 years were the primary victims of road accidents in the state, the report – prepared by compiling and analyzing data from records of over 25 years maintained by GNRC and various other publicly available sources – stated that more number of teenagers are dying due to road accidents than from HIV/AIDS.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Atanu Borthakur, Director of Accident and Emergency department of GNRC Ltd said, “WHO estimates that 1.24 million people are killed in road accident each year and as many as 50 million are injured. According to WHO’s Global Safety Report, India has the highest road traffic accident rate in the world, with over 140,000 deaths annually accounting for 11.3% of the global death rate. Moreover, these incidences of accidents have caused an economic burden of around Rs 60,000 crore for India. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report states that with 50.4% deaths in Assam caused by road accidents, the state’s record surpassed the national average of 36.4% for 2013. In Assam, 704 people died and 1803 people were injured in 2014 (up to March) due to road accidents while in 2013, 2441 people died and 6609 people were injured in due to road accidents. Highest deaths due to road traffic accidents occurred at Guwahati City, followed by Kamrup district.”

Interestingly, 91% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low-income and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately only half of the world’s vehicles. Every minute one accident occurs in India while every 4 minutes one person dies from accidents in India. More than 50% of such deaths are caused due to head injuries. Road accidents have become the sixth largest killer in India of late.

Dr. Borthakur added, “Total number of trauma cases in GNRC during the year 2014 was 3200 and we treated 1852 road traffic accident cases during this period. In the last 27 years GNRC has treated a whopping number of 24,224 road accident patients. According to our assessment based on this experience, increasing number of road accidents can be attributed to various factors like uneven terrain and poor road conditions, uncontrolled speed, drunken driving, driving while speaking over the phone, non-use of helmets, seat belts and child restraints, listening to music while walking or driving and numerous other such hazardous practices. Lack of awareness among the people about how to respond to an accident victim and lack of proper healthcare facility in many parts of the state are major reasons behind the increasing number of deaths from road accidents.”

Dr. Navanil Barua, Director of Neurosurgery department of GNRC Ltd unveiled GNRC’s roadmap to tackle the growing menace of road accidents, ways to prevent accidents and accident-related deaths. “As conscionable members of society, we, at GNRC, aim to progress in the direction of our guiding principle – ‘Health for All and Smiles for All’, by conducting a dedicated year-long programme to ensure the health of young members of our society,” he said. On the occasion, Dr. Baruah requested the media personnel present to contribute by spreading the message of road safety as much as possible. “The primary cause of alarming number of road accidents is lack of adequate persuasive communication about road safety. Only media can help us take this message of road safety to the masses, and thereby serve the cause of society-building and nation-building”, he said.

GNRC also unveiled a special scheme for the media personnel present on the occasion. “Media personnel serve the society and democracy by being mobile all the time, especially on two wheelers and are vulnerable to Road Traffic Accidents. As a token of gratitude for them on behalf of society, GNRC is offering a unique facility which will entitle them to free treatment in the event of any unfortunate road accidents,” said Dr. JP Sarma, Director of Business Development and Growth, GNRC Ltd.

A live simulation of road accident and first responders’ training programme was also conducted after the press briefing.

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