Forecasting Indian Road Traffic Casualties: Guidance to Prioritize Road Safety Technologies and Regulations
Abstract: India accounts for 11% (nearly 150,000) of global road traffic deaths and its fatality rate is 22.6 per 100,000 people, almost three times higher than that of the European region. India is committed to reducing fatalities and has signed the Stockholm declaration to halve the fatalities by 2030. Fatality reduction can be achieved through various countermeasures. To prioritise between various countermeasures, it is important to understand future road safety challenges and to predict the effectiveness of these countermeasures, e.g. the impact of pre-crash safety technologies and recently implemented vehicle safety regulations. Firstly, the effectiveness of state-of-the-art pre-crash safety technologies for different road users in India was investigated using simple deterministic rules; one optimistic and one conservative rule for each safety technology, to identify future safety gaps. Secondly, the effectiveness of recently implemented vehicle safety regulations was estimated and used to characterise remaining crash. Since both these studies found that the proportion of crashes involving Powered Two-Wheelers (PTWs) will remain high, the final study identified the most frequent crash configurations of PTWs. Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in cars, trucks, and buses were found to be the most effective pre-crash safety technologies among the evaluated pre-crash safety systems for reducing injury crashes in India. While these technologies will help reduce future crashes, the proportion of heavy vehicle-to-pedestrian and heavy vehicle-to-PTW crashes will increase. The recently implemented regulations were estimated to reduce 6–13% of road traffic fatalities in India. Overspeed alerts, offset frontal crash performance by standardised testing and seatbelt reminders were found to be the three components of the regulations most effective at reducing fatalities when the optimistic rules were used. Both these studies illustrate that a large proportion of the very frequent crashes involving PTWs will remain. The most frequent crash configurations involving PTWs in India were front-to-front PTW to truck or car, followed by riders falling of the PTW (ground impact). Although the recently implemented vehicle safety regulations in India will contribute to a substantial fatality reduction, they alone will not achieve the reduction target set for 2030. Estimates of the remaining future crashes call for increased attention to fatal crashes involving PTW riders and pedestrians. To address the safety of PTW users, one recommendation is to focus on in-crash protection of PTW users, in addition to strong enforcement of the helmet law and other existing regulations.
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