Increase investments for road safety: Researchers to TN govt

Chennai: The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) researchers have called for increased investment by the government in road safety to reduce the impact of accidents on the economy.

Health Minister Ma Subramanian released a report titled titled ‘Socio-Economic Costs of Road Crashes in Tamilnadu,’ in the presence of IIT-Madras Director Prof V Kamakoti and report authors Prof Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Faculty, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, and Dr Nijina M Nazar, Senior Project Scientist, Department of Engineering Design at IIT Madras.

Addressing the event, Subramanian said the hidden truth in all accidents is the costs involved and this study by the Centre of Excellence for Road Safety in IIT Madras can sensitise the government and public on these costs.
‘Government can use this study in identifying the implicit costs of an accident, use it towards improved financial planning and appropriately invest on initiatives to strengthen road safety in the State’, he added.

The RBG Labs, has been working very closely with the State Health Department in developing and implementing various pioneering schemes which are being replicated across the country, he said and encouraged the research team to perform similar analyses across the country to improve road safety.

The study was undertaken by the Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS)/ RBG Labs of IIT Madras. It has come out with three different estimates of the socio-economic impact. These estimates have been calculated considering medical costs, loss of taxation revenue, which is also considered as production loss, human costs, damages to the vehicle, civil damages, and administrative costs such as police, insurance, legal.

Kamakoti said, ‘Road accidents cause the maximum trauma for both the victims and their kith and kin. The study performed here not only try to quantify them but also point to methods for reducing them.’

One of the highlights of the study is that it includes travel delay costs due to road crashes and efficiency tax, which are costs that the government may have to impose on the society to revive the economy after incurring these huge costs.

Elaborating on this study, Prof Venkatesh Balasubramanian said ‘initiatives on road safety are common across all Governments globally. The quantum of investment required is currently made from a welfare state model. From a cost to economy perspective, this study can help policymakers calibrate and plan for higher targeted investment on initiatives.’