As the world celebrates UN Global Road Safety Week 2015 with the theme “Save Kids Lives”, children on Indian roads continue to face a grim scenario. In Delhi, for instance, the number of children killed in road accidents has gone up from 145 in 2013 to 167 in 2014. The number of injuries have gone up from 855 to 918 in the same period. This was revealed by RTI data collected by SaveLIFE Foundation, a road safety advocacy group. Delhi is not the only State to have reported an increase in child mortality on roads. Chhattisgarh has reported a 55% jump in deaths of children in road accidents with 211 deaths recorded in 2014 as against 136 in 2013. State of Maharashtra has reported a 23.5% increase with 434 children killed in road accidents in 2014 as against 351 in 2013.
States of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, though, have reported a slight drop in the number of child fatalities on roads. In 2013, Tamil Nadu had recorded 380 deaths and in 2014 the number fell to 351. In U.P. the number of children killed in road accidents has fallen from 825 to 638 in the corresponding period. Union Territory of Chandigarh has also recorded a reduction in road accident deaths of children in the years 2013 and 2014 with the number of deaths falling from 8 to 5 and the number of injuries falling from 17 to 7. The States of Punjab and Haryana, of which Chandigarh is the Capital, have not responded to the RTI query. States of Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh too have failed to respond to the RTI query.
“Every day 20 children under the age of 14 are killed in road accidents in India. Unless we legislate and enforce strict safety measures to protect them, including child restraint systems, child helmets, adult accountability and child zones, the situation is not expected to improve. The government must move on the proposal to strengthen road safety laws”, noted Piyush Tewari, Founder & CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation, which filed the RTI applications. Questioning policymakers, Dr. Shubhangi Tambwekar who lost her daughter to a road accident last year says, “How many young lives is India prepared to sacrifice? To you, she is just a statistic. For us, we have lost our soul”.