IIT Madras Research advocates increased Government investment in Road Safety to reduce impact of accidents on Economy

CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers have called for increased investment by the Government in road safety to reduce the impact of accidents on the economy

Thiru. Ma Subramanian, Hon’ble Minister for Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, released the report on Sunday (13th March 2022) in the presence of Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, and Report Authors Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Faculty, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, and first Author of the Report Dr. Nijina M Nazar, Senior Project Scientist, Department of Engineering Design at IIT Madras.

Addressing the event held at IIT Madras, Thiru. Ma Subramanian, Minister for Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “The hidden truth in all accidents is the costs involved and this study by the Centre of Excellence for Road Safety in IIT Madras can sensitise the Government and public on these costs. Government can use this study in identifying the implicit costs of an accident, use it towards improved financial planning and appropriately invest on initiatives to strengthen road safety in the State”.

Thiru. Ma Subramanian added, “The RBG Labs, has been working very closely with the Government of Tamil Nadu’s Health Department in developing and implementing various pioneering schemes which are being replicated across the country. He also encouraged the research team to perform similar analyses across the country to improve road safety.”

Titled ‘Socio-Economic Costs of Road Crashes in Tamil Nadu,’ the study was undertaken by the Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS)/ RBG Labs of IIT Madras. It has come out with three different estimates of the socio-economic impact. These estimates have been calculated considering medical costs, loss of taxation revenue, which is also considered as production loss, human costs, damages to the vehicle, civil damages, and administrative costs such as police, insurance, legal.

Speaking on the Occasion, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “Road accidents cause the maximum trauma for both the victims and their kith and kin. The study performed here not only try to quantify them but also point to methods for reducing them.”

One of the highlights of the study is that it includes travel delay costs due to road crashes and efficiency tax, which are costs that the Government may have to impose on the society to revive the economy after incurring these huge costs.

Elaborating on this Study, Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Head, Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS) and Faculty In-Charge, Rehabilitation Bioengineering Group (RBG) Labs, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, said, “Initiatives on road safety are common across all Governments globally. The quantum of investment required is currently made from a welfare state model. From a cost to economy perspective, this study can help policymakers calibrate and plan for higher targeted investment on initiatives.”

Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian added, “More specifically, the investments focused on addressing public health issues starting from evacuating a victim from an accident scene to rehabilitation can be viewed from a perspective of comprehensive cost to society. It would be reconnected that all policymakers perform these evaluations to estimate their quantum of investments.”

The total impact in financial terms has been arrived at using the hybrid human capital approach method, which uses the present value of potential earnings of the victim met with the accident. A sensitivity test is also conducted using established WTP value transfer methodology and iRAP method in the calculation of human costs. Wherever possible this study has also considered other studies across the globe and in India.

The key outcomes of this study based on the Tamil Nadu State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) Data from 2019 include:

Ø Tamil Nadu’s socio-economic cost of road traffic crashes for the year 2019 was in the range of INR 21,078.83 crore – INR 56,543.29 crore

Ø This amounts to 0.94–2.5% of the States GDP

Ø The Economic cost of each road fatality in Tamil Nadu was estimated as INR 87,45,154.79.

Ø It was also found that the cost for a grievous injury associated with road crash was INR 1,69,544.82.

Ø Further, this report estimates the direct cost of road traffic crashes to the Government of Tamil Nadu at over Rs.12,912.13 crore

Ø The additional health services required account for 2.34 per cent of this cost.

Ø It is to be noted that entire Health, Welfare and Family Budget can be strained by these costs from road crashes.

The Rehabilitation Bioengineering Group (RBG Labs) in Engineering Design Department at IIT Madras is an interdisciplinary group working on various problems of societal demand to enhance the quality and productivity of people, processes and products. The CoERS in the RBG Labs works on multiple aspects of road safety, including vehicle engineering, road engineering and human factors engineering. The CoERS functions as a think-tank to MoRTH and other policymakers providing advisory on road safety.


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