Vector Management: Road Traffic Accidents

November - December 2021

Devashish De is an alumnus of the prestigious Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies, TISS, Mumbai. His initial studies were in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pune. He is currently serving with DGQA at Pune.

India fares the worst in road traffic accidents. The issue is more live with urban settlements where the centres of economy, business and attractions of a modern life pivot. The government has come out with the amended Motor Vehicle Act with punitive measures that are not very popular. The paper looks at the issues on a road ecosystem in India and judges the very many other factors which govern vehicle-based commuters. It advocates animated punishment methods, which may actually, bring in the desired change. It also addresses the hazards induced by mobile phones and suggests ways based on people’s perceptions.

Devashish De

When one talks of Road Traffic Accidents (RTA), the discussion peters out to poor road manners in most circumstances. Many cite the bulk of two-wheeler drivers who pass by car owners in swift manoeuvres, which makes larger vehicle drivers induce in him or her unnerving caution. More often than not in a road traffic accident site involving pedestrians and car owners, the latter is thronged by masses with mob mentality[1] to break open a car. This gush of anger is more to do with the disparity in social strata where the less blessed find it an apt opportunity to relinquish the weight of their pain to have not made it in the elite strata. To counter poor traffic sense and failed prospects of micromanagement, the Road and Surface Transport Ministry came out with a revised Motor Vehicle Act with draconian punitive punishments[2]. But rather than being reformative, people started dumping their two wheelers[3]. The Ministry however is clueless on the secondary cascading hazards of emanating law and order issues of which RTA incidents just serve as the initiator. The compensation is not suitably worded for victims who are a result of the cascading effect of the first. This is a vulnerability for the concept of ‘Good Samaritan’ espoused by the Honourable Apex Court. WhatsApp jokes are on conspicuous gaps wherein one anecdote suggests to the public that they should escape the cops if they are drunk since it would fetch them a penalty of Rs2000/- only as against drunk driving for which the penalty is Rs10,000/-.


The article has been framed on the Research Gap which becomes evident against the people’s perception versus the attitude of the State to handle the issue. The paper presents the views of the State against the results of a people’s perception prepared on Google Forms and lays bare the fact that while State policymakers are seized of the issue, their mathematics is on a wrong premise. In the ibid case, putting a clause of only published material, the Ministry has withdrawn itself from the scope of citizen inputs in an independent capacity. It is a well-known fact that publications are a matter of multiple peer reviews which tends to abrogate the harsher part of the concept in many instances.

Literature Review

The primary perception of the State concerning the RTA culture in India is reflected in the formal video documentaries of State-run television shows on Rajya Sabha TV and Sansad TV[4]. It provides many inputs, like the third day of November in a calendar year is observed as a day for solidarity towards Road Traffic Accidents. The documentaries have a few pointers towards the extent of the problem. It says that the age bracket of the victims is from 5-29 years and that the primary victims have constituted those of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The UN Resolution for Reduction in RTA is spaced from 2021-30. Deaths on Indian Roads constitute 11% of global deaths. 61% of the incidents have been on State and National Highway wherein 35% of the victims were two-wheeler drivers. Over speeding, rash-driving[5], non-usage of helmets, post-crash response, drunken driving and black spot identification have been the key to the issue aggravation. 50% of the deaths have been at T Junctions and Y junctions. States with the highest RTA as Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have yet not adopted the Motor Vehicle Act 2019. This sums up the colossal issue of RTA. One of the innovations relating to practical urbanism where poorly designed joints and corners are redesigned with the help of cones, paints and barriers, was found less in references. Practical urbanism also ensures pedestrians are not mixed up with the loose cognitive application of speeding drivers. Very few vehicle manufacturers in India have had a five-star safety rating on wheels that they have been rolling out. Most of the vehicles instead are being exported from India with seven-star safety features. The literature review also collated facts as 53 road crashes in India happens every hour[6].In addition, India has only 1% of global vehicles, yet it accounts for 11% of the RTA as per the World Bank. 76.2% of the people affected have been in the working-age of 18-45 years. The Rajya Sabha/Sansad TV episodes, though are there in profusion, did not discuss a single road layout or indulge in accident track analysis. This was the research gap on which this paper has been framed. Aptly, the paper has been titled as one on Vector Management.

In Qatar, in the recent past, there was a webinar on Road Safety Audit[7] where certain excerpts of which may be relevant. ‘Complying with Standards does not Guarantee Road Safety’- was one of the key statements flashed during that webinar. It meant that tabletop efforts were not good enough to reduce the menace of the issue. In the ibid case, it is the article writing competition at the MyGov portal. However, if the deliberations are made with circular roads with abrupt T junctions, then, a lot more could be perceived. It is the behaviour of errant drivers that will give all the clues. Terms like Practical Urbanism are technically the solution initiator. So when an uncontrolled driver gets his SUV up the pavement[8] and crushes unsuspecting humans, using it, in an overpopulated country, raising the heights of such pavements can give the solution at first level in all probability. So, can there be a system where a rain/storm drain could double up as a tyre plugger? Footpaths in high pedestrian use zones could use additional road barriers to avoid power vehicles marauding fragile lives. As per the Indian adage to the thoughts in continuation, the corner plot is the most beneficial for a business reflection. However, it is also the one that is the most sensitive point for a driver to lose control[9]. It is in these corner plots[10] that encroachments have happened and pedestrian assembly points for road crossings have diminished in space[11] due to the footfalls theory of business gains.

Findings and Analysis  

A survey was conducted with a set of a section of educated office goers for whom meeting the reality of Indian road conditions had remained a reality. Of these, 61.5% of respondents were males. Women were encouraged to respond as they also constituted a major portion of the commuter strength on Indian roads.

At the outset, they chose to blame the bulk of the youngest commuters for whom speeding was a deadly thrill (46.2%). This was followed by the uncontrolled vector tracks adopted by two-wheeler owners (30.8%) who were indicated as the issue creators. Pedestrians were not cited at this stage. Car owners were apportioned little to blame, in the wake of stray cattle and dog menace which seems to have aggravated. However, all were in unison for creating records of aberrations digitally so that heightened mounds of sin could be shown to the sinner to enable him to adopt reformation in utter shame.

The third question was more elaborate. It sought suggestions on listing major road irritants.

The queries were:

Apart from the road irritants, the respondents were explained that there could be distractions that induced deviations and overspeeding. To this, most of them stated that WhatsApp pings during office hours were a cause for alarm. They cited public misbehaviour as the second distraction. The issues aggravated if unplanned roadblocks and jams happened as bosses were unrelenting and the modern-day automated biometric attendance system waived off conveniences that could be bought with the word ‘Sorry’, earlier. Ambulance parleys and new vehicles revving up were distractions but didn’t merit attention.

The next question was on the remedy. It was cited that car-pooling was not evolving in India. Respondents said that insta-carpooling by Google could be a remedy or even something as WhatsApp car-pooling. The driver and the co-passenger have no scope to plan except getting on to their destinations. So, Google carpooling would get activated if somebody started a car. The Car App on the mobile could ask the comfort of a driver to take on a road passenger as a landmark indicator or guide. He or she could also do a benevolent pick up for the elderly or children or a paid pick-up for sharing fuel bills. This App could be approved for drivers with good character records and a temporary video of the travel could be made available to all stakeholders.

The deterrent was also limited to a policeman and an errant interaction, where the latter claimed to be a victim. To this, the author suggested a method of calling bosses, employers, wives, relatives, landlords and neighbours/society members for rescue which gained appeal. It was an emulation of practice set in school days by teachers, which was suggested as a social experiment for take-off. It was felt that a limited-time experiment could structure the discipline for days. So, if an errant boy was a road rage monger, then his suspected girlfriend and the boy’s parents could be confronted. The fear of a chain reaction could serve as an inhibitor. Some even suggested that the media would get relishing news for their columns at the cost of improving road discipline. Truck drivers could face their employers who could be forced to come to Pune from their homes in Punjab. A practice was assured to reduce the menace of urban road indiscipline. Serial road honkers could have their wives being called for their rescue until honking would finally be relegated to use as an emergency brake. Similarly, the author suggested that trigger-happy volunteer cops could be called upon to bubble paper-wrap the head of an errant two-wheeler driver, and this could happen to anybody not carrying a valid doctor’s prescription citing reduced cognitive capabilities with the use of a helmet. These were considered positive deviations to which respondents agreed.

As a remedy, people erring could also face the loss of internet for five days to start with. More or less, the respondents agreed that, rather than punitive punishments, more deterrents was expected in animated punishments – the old classroom way.

The next query was related to the absence of Good Samaritans on the road. The deterrents were the perceived callous attitude of the police. Women said that blood and broken bones was an abominable proposition. Other than serving a glass of water, nothing much could be expected. Then people rescinded that the Good Samaritan tag did not come with good prizes such as, income tax exemption for one year, or free lunch passes for self and family or even internet top-up; the last being beneficial to students. Some suggestions made by the author also included a URL copy-paste solution for a tagline on Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, Instagram and so on, with the provision of recovery by the government at will and replacing it with something nastier. People were not very convinced at the tag of Been There Done That – beyond once until it served to ease their lifestyles and compulsive requirements to a certain extent.

The next query pertained to clogged up mohalla and service lanes. Some said that weaning away a car was not a popular decision as many acquire it after years in their lifetime. Commercial and very cheap multi-floor car parking was considered as the appropriate response to the growing strength of cars. People wanted electric cars, automated cars and rent-an-electric-car solutions at cheaper rates.

Towards the end, the recurring link of pedestrian sensitivity was again put up for discussion. 58.8% of the respondents agreed that they served to be impediments to free traffic movements in some way. 61.5% agreed that pedestrians were worse if they were also on the mobile at the same time. To this, the respondents were asked if AI-based face recognition cameras loaded on smart drones could be placed on Indian roads to identify errant members of the public. 76.9% of the respondents said in unison that this will create panic. More people would attempt to hide their faces and other identification features. They will be shot and scooted by nuisance mongers and people could catapult the device even to see it crash with intent to crush it under their tyres. So, the use of this device as a hidden instrument is suggested.

Lastly, respondents were indecisive on the query if mobile call spaces could be earmarked for the public just like close door smoking zones.


Possibly the activities on the road are not being differentiated between rowdy mess makers and encroaching vehicle parks or street vendors et al. Amid street vendors, sizable new identities relate to Bangladeshi refugees who have their community issues and the subject diversion is on a different level.

Education and awareness are lacking. While schools in Japan have an education, Indian schools still do not have a clear debate and analysis. Appealing WhatsApp forwards could be a start to the project per se. Even NDMA could do that rather than restricting the mandate to Twitter and Facebook only.

The readability of road accidents annual report of 2019 is far from acceptable. It is a voluminous 233-page report on many vital scores. But just like most of the IAS officers would like to have a problem statement and proposed solution written to them in an A4 size sheet, such voluminous ensembles remained a delight for the researcher only. It was not thought of as a feedback format in which the routine gentry could be educated on the problem statement and solution innovations. These reports did not seem to come out with poster ideas although many of these could have a vital exposure, such as the time of the day when accidents happens the most, etc.

Did these reports do the following?

Gives a ready reckoner on the death/injury settlement of insurance claims which could indicate the most people-friendly insurance in terms of time and amount in every State? Could it also give a cost imposed to the victim or his family in getting a claim since people could lose their jobs due to an accident? Whatever the UN bodies or international forums continue to advocate for India, the end statement of Chanakya remains the truth for citizens, which says – Disaster is the loss of a breadwinner.

Did these statistics also reflect on the cognitive capacity of the deceased?

Did these statistics deal with commuting conveniences for the elderly and the infant, considering the evolution of such thought limited to washroom fittings only by companies such as Kohler and Grohe, till date? Maybe, no.

Did these statistics equate the reformative practice of punitive punishments to paying capacity of offenders? If done, then it could be of consequence for the masses.

Did these reports ever take feedback on the fear of women drivers, considering their differently wired motor systems?

Were the statistics of motor practice grounds earmarked for learners or weak drivers or their skill augmentation were only pivoted to the display of the letter ‘L’ and not more? What was the provision for simulator rooms for rowdy and rash drivers or weak drivers?

What could be the roadmap for road rage or mob mentality? Why did the police continue to be the primary data creator when this task could have been outsourced? Police are already stressed and police reforms seem to be a faraway dream still for which the current economy probably did not have the captive money for effecting a transformation.


Vector management in an overpopulated country is the key to the reduction of road traffic accidents. Somewhere, there has to be a full stop to the Saturday or Sunday night beeline outside petrol pumps, usurping the routine flow of life contrary to the process as seen on other days. Somewhere, the free mobility of two-wheelers to change lanes at will and to be overcrowded on footpaths or in front of four-wheelers needs to change. During road construction or partial excavations, it is the two-wheelers who have a free-go as against others also attempting the same concurrently. Road clogs from 5 pm to 7 pm every evening or the flow of traffic to accessible twin cities is an understood unspoken contest to concurrently attempt undeclared human competitions on road. Many times, large vehicle drivers tend to compete on highways, and machines go out of control. Thus, finer vector management of the profusion of the Indian public trying to make it through the only orifice called roads needs to be controlled or streamlined. These may include serrated road spaces akin to fairs where crowd management reigns supreme.


The author would like to thank the regular and contractual employees of a select set of employees of his establishment who were cooperative to understand the issues related to road safety and willingly contributed their invoice to the structured survey laid out to them.

(Disclaimer: This work is a citizen perception only and does not relate to government identities of people or persons involved)


[1] accessed on 08 December2021.

[2] accessed on 08 December 2021.

[3] accessed on 08 December 2021.

[4] accessed on 03 December 2021.

[5] accessed on 03 December 2021.

[6] accessed on 06 December 2021.

[7] accessed on 07 December 2021.

[8] accessed on 07 December 2021.

[9] accessed on 08 December 2021.

[10] accessed on 08 December 2021.

[11] accessed on 07 December 2021.

[12] accessed on 11 December 2021.

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