Surprising as it may sound, there is a very important common reason behind the death of Lady Diana & Gopinath Munde, the recently sworn BJP Cabinet minister. No, this is not a conspiracy theory blog, and I am not trying to insinuate any hanky panky here. The reason why they both died is because they were sitting in the back seat of the car and not wearing seat belts. Remember, the drivers of both the vehicles (& even the bodyguard in case of Lady Di) were not killed. In case of Mr Munde, in fact, the car was also barely scratched, while he had a fracture in the neck & bleeding in the abdomen, leading to his death before reaching the AIIMS Advanced Trauma Center, that was located less than 3 km away in the National Capital of New Delhi.
In India, the road safety record is generally abysmal. As per this article in The Hindu Newspaper,
The numbers say it all. Every four minutes a life is lost in a road accident in India with 1,40,000 deaths recorded in 2012 alone. In the past decade, over a million people have lost their lives in road accidents in the country and over 5 million have been left seriously injured or permanently disabled.
This is more than the population of many countries !
While road safety measures are a long term and holistic solutions, we can reduce the number of deaths & injuries by some simple measures ourselves. Please remember these FOUR WORDS
WEAR HELMETS & SEAT-BELTS
This is almost nonexistent for the rear passengers in cars in India – because we believe in government & the destiny, (not necessarily in the same order J). Since the law, as it stands today, only insists on seat belts for people in the front seats, and air bags are practically nonexistent for the rear passengers in most vehicles, wearing a seat belt in the back seat may prevent your near & dear ones from being a victim themselves.
For kids to be able to do this, it is very important to start early. We started putting our daughter in the car seat when she was a few weeks old, believe me it is the safest age to do so. Once they are used to it, kids really enjoy the view (since the chair is at a height enabling them to see outside the car window), and the fact that this is their own space, where they can do what they want. Not only are they less prone to injury, but are not likely to interfere & distract the driver as well, improving the overall safety of passengers as well.
Start wearing your seat belts NOW !
Read more poor Indian road safety here