The financial loss for the poor amounted to more than seven month’s household income, while it was equivalent to less than one month’s household income for rich households, said the findings of the report.
The report highlights the disproportionate impact of a road crash on poor households that pushes them into a vicious cycle of poverty and debt. It sheds light on the links between road crashes, poverty, inequality, and vulnerable road users in India.
The study was done in collaboration with SaveLIFE Foundation – a national non-governmental organization focused on road safety. Based on the survey data collected from around 2,500 respondents across four Indian states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, the research assesses the social, financial, gender, and psychological impacts of road crashes on poor and disadvantaged households.
The report recommends policy-oriented approaches for saving lives and improving the ability of victims and their families to get back on their feet, including providing immediate financial, medical and legal aid.
Speaking at the release of the report, union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that automobile manufacturers should provide basic safety in vehicles at a minimum affordable price.
“We have taken a number of positive initiatives to reduce road crash deaths in India. With the support of all stakeholders in our society, I am committed to reducing road crash deaths by 50 percent by 2025,” Gadkari added.
The report also brings out the sharp rural-urban divide and the disproportionate impact on women. The survey shows that the income decline for low-income rural households (56 percent) was the most severe compared to low-income urban (29.5 percent) and high-income rural households (39.5 percent).
Women bore the burden of crashes across poor and rich households, often taking up extra work, assuming greater responsibilities, and performing caregiving activities after a crash.
About 50 percent of women were severely affected by the decline in their household income after a crash, the report revealed.
The study also documented low rates of access to insurance coverage and poor awareness related to legal compensation among truck drivers.
“Road crashes can have a devastating and disproportionate impact on the poor, thrusting a family into deep poverty,” Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia region was quoted as saying in a statement.
“The World Bank is committed to supporting the Indian government in creating safety nets for poor households to ease their financial burden and help them cope with the sudden emergency linked to road crashes,” Schafer added.
The report recommends making health infrastructure and coverage more accessible and inclusive, providing a social security net for crash victims from low-income households through state support, creating an accessible legal framework for availing insurance and compensation for road crash victims, among other measures.
“The findings of the report identify the areas that require immediate improvements such as efforts towards post-crash emergency care and protocols, insurance and compensation systems,” said Piyush Tewari, CEO and founder of SaveLIFE Foundation.
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