In the past decade, 1.2 million Indians have died on the roads of India. The numbers are indicative of how the country came to be the home to the world’s deadliest roads. Factors ranging from untrained drivers, lax enforcement of traffic laws to poorly designed roads, have all equally contributed towards this high number of road deaths and the statistics are anything but reassuring.
According to the World Health Organisation, one person dies on India’s roads every five minutes and they have predicted that this could rise to one every three minutes by 2020. Soon after the death of India’s rural development minister, Gopinath Munde in 2014, PM Narendra Modi had announced that the existing Motor Vehicles Act 1988 would be re-drafted to create the Road Safety and Transport Bill, 2014 that will fall in line with the policies followed in USA, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Germany and the UK. However, as a result of regulatory deadlock, this bill is still not anywhere close to being passed.
In the mean time, two women from Gujarat decided to take some preventive action on their own. Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya designed a 3D zebra crossing. The painting gives the drivers the illusion of being a road block, thus succeeding in slowing down speeding vehicles. They plan to implement this concept in areas surrounding schools in Gujarat, according to a post by Logical Indian. Through this, they hope to make the roads safer for children—a necessary step considering that a 2013 statistic report suggested that 16 children die on the Indian roads daily. Several people have questioned the effectiveness of this step in the long run, and suggested that there needs to be more concrete and logical measures. Many even went on to say that this design could cause drivers to panic, resulting in more accidents while others suggested that the drivers in India are so callous that they’d run-over a real-life Zebra if it was crossing the road. Time will only tell how effective this measure is and if it is something that the other states needs to adopt as well.