Legally, there are some avenues that offer protection to pedestrians, including the Motor Vehicles Act (1988); the Indian Penal Code (1860), which provides for the penalizing of rash driving by motorists who put pedestrians at risk; and the Rules of the Road Regulation (1989), which outlines the responsibilities of motorists with respect to pedestrians. Most recently, the National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board Bill (2010) mandates the Board to provide special requirements for women, children, senior citizens, disabled persons, and pedestrians relating to road safety and traffic management on national highways. While these laws provide some legal protection to people walking on streets, they are inadequate due to two major reasons:
1. The regulations are framed as a set of suggested responsibilities, not requirements, for motorists.
2. In the absence of defined rights for pedestrians, neither municipal authorities nor private motorists bear any legal responsibility for the environment that is generated by their actions.”
The most recent accidents in May 2014 and the appeal to PM Modiji by one accident victim’s wife explain it all.
UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: India is a party to UN’s decadal effort.
International efforts to include pedestrian/Road safety in Sustainable Development Goals are likely to succeed.
CSOs / NGOs and Activists have a lot to contribute at the India International Road and transportation Fair Sept.17-19, 2014.