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Brains Super Speciality Hospital
Injury prevention should be given priority

Injury prevention should be given priority

Dr. NK Venkataramana

Founder Director Brains Super Speciality Hospital

A GOLDEN HOUR SOCIAL INITIATIVE

ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS continue to be a big social menace in India as well as in many developing countries. Thus constructing significant loss of life as well as permanent disability. It has been estimated that for every loss of life in an accident five people will be permanently disabled for life and twenty others will be significantly injured. Who are these? Majority of them are in the most productive age group and often the sole bread winners of the family. The richest resource India has is the Human Resource and talent. Each loss of life is a significant talent loss apart from all the financial and social implications. Unfortunately year after year the statistics continue to be alarming.

It is not that the west or developed countries do not have this problem. Having realized they have put consistent effort and controlled through several measures. More importantly, those changes were implemented for good and remained in practice. As a result the ratio between number of vehicles to the accidents and particularly fatal ones have come down drastically. Where as in our situation it has multiplied many fold and keeps increasing.

Compared to the previous years, the present statistics show both the number as well as fatalities have increased. As we are going to have more better roads, high speed vehicles the situation can go out of hand if permanent preventive measures are not implemented soon and sustained. In fact every year if we can correct one problem we can make a huge difference. Even after 80 years of independence we have not looked our own safety on roads contributing to severe head injuries. Incidentally, as per the World Health Organisation report India has the highest number of fatal accidents in the world. What a credibility to have? It is time we look into it and put stringent measures because “accidents are preventable”.

The following measures need to be implemented across the country:

1. Our roads have improved significantly. Many highways are very good for driving. But the finesse for safety is lacking in many places. Once I went to Agra for delivering a lecture in winter. Landed in Delhi and took the Delhi - Agra, one of the busy highway. The moment we went past the city limits we were surrounded by such fog that nothing is visible. There were no lights, median is not seen. No reflectors. We wanted to stop, but the driver said they are used to it. He was just guessing the road and going, at times following the barely visible tail lights of the previous vehicles. We have reached a point where we can neither go forward nor stop. If we stop someone can bang us from behind. Finally, we reached the destination after 8 hours of journey which was a true night mare. This shows our reluctance to implement safety measures despite making very good roads.

2. Driving practices - Good driving practices across all drivers is fundamental . No doubt some are as skilled as surgeons. That can help averting untoward incidents , but risk taking is not worth . One should be meticulous, uncompromising and attentive. Incidentally, once we were travelling from Atlanta to Florida. By mistake the head lights were kept on high beam as we were nearing the city limits. Soon we saw a police jeep blinking lights from behind. As a result we have to pull the vehicle to a side. The light was in on our vehicle from behind. A police officer slowly walked to the car and examined us first with a bright torch light. Then he told us that we were on high beam and it is an offence. My brother in law who was driving gave fast one that it got into the mode suddenly. The police officer replied in a cool way the he was following for five kilometres. So there was no escape. He also added the description of the car, and we are coming from Atlanta and all history in the conversation. That made me curious and I wanted to talk to him. There they will never allow you to get out of the car as one may have different intentions or weapons. Sitting in the car I pleaded that I am a neurosurgeon from India and need to discuss. After convincing with proof he allowed me to open the door. I expressed my curiosity in their meticulous talent and knowledge. Finally he took me to his car and showed the wonderful computer gadgets, special software that makes them track every minute information. I was fascinated about the technology, training and skill sets of those officers. Paradoxically he told me that 5e software was made in India that too Bangalore.

3. Police Department- unless our police department also rises to the occasion we can’t tackle the growing problem. We too must invest in technology. That way Bangalore traffic police has the best gadgets including Digital wall to track the vehicles across the city. So any camera systems, tracking systems are there. But in my opinion the technology is being underutilised, the training is not adequate , vigilance system is poor , implementation of law is poor. We have yet a lot of scope to improve. It should be taken as a challenge that we must be on par with the international standards. Then only there is some scope to improve. “We are doing the best” attitude is the main cause of stagnation. Things are slipping out of control as the traffic is getting overloaded on the system itself.

4. Licensing - must be stringent particularly taxi drivers and truck drivers. At times one witness unanticipated attitudes of driving. This must be curbed rigorously with whatever feasible system.

5. Motor highways - it is not enough to build motor highways. The standards have already been set across the world. We must simply implement all of them. Here once road is made and inaugurated it is left to the citizens to do what they want. They can put unnecessary barricades, humps, break the medians, create side entries,create exits at their convenience eventually destroying the sanctity of the highway itself.

6. Culture- once something is good for the safety of all it should be respected, and followed by every citizen of the country. Many a times one should beware of sudden surprises people do. Coming in the opposite direction, wrong way, wrong line, abrupt stops, abrupt turns. We have a pride in general in breaking the law. Once a law is made it is citizens’ responsibility to ensure that is followed under all circumstances. Otherwise this cannot be imposed across the millions of people . But laws can be made strict and with continuous education we can certainly change the culture.

Year

2021

2022

2023

Fatal Accident/Death

651

771

910

Non-Fatal/Injuried

2828

3218

4191

Brains Super Hospital through the “Golden Hour” social initiative has been advocating several ways to implement prevention of accidents. Unless all the stakeholders including government take an active role this cannot be achieved. But if we all put consistent effort and do not go back on our commitment it can be achieved. More than anybody it should be a citizen initiative by learning, practicing, teaching, implementing, reprimanding and correcting wrong practices of others can take us a long way in these efforts. Thus everyone must become a custodian of safety principles and safety laws.

MARCH 20th of every year is implemented as “HEAD INJURY AWARENESS DAY”. As a neurosurgeon it is my responsibility as well as a humble request to Bangaloreans at large to adhere to these simple implantable measures so that we not only save lives but also become role models for the rest. Hope you not only read, but also spread this message as an awareness and education. Then only we can do justice to the humanity. Otherwise head injury remains as an endemic problem perennially.