A study undertaken by NMIMS Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering in consultation with The All India Professionals Congress, Kerala has predicted that the state of Kerala is likely to witness a jump in deaths due to road accidents by 7.8% to 4453 by 2020. This predictive analysis study is authored by Ms. Meera Sankar and Ms. Samira Fursule, 2nd. Year M.Tech Data Science under the guidance of Prof. Sarada Samantaray, Associate Dean, Academics, NMIMS University and was done using advanced data analytics tools.
The historical study, basis data available in the official website of Kerala Police (data till 2017 was available at the time of study), found that the state witnessed a maximum number of road accidents and deaths between 10 -11 am and 6-7 pm, which are considered to be peak office timings. Two wheelers accounted for maximum number of accidents followed by cars and jeeps.
Commenting on the study, Ms. Meera Sankar, Project Lead and 2nd Year M.Tech, Data Science student, NMIMS University said that “the rising number of road accidents is certainly a cause of worry not only in Kerala but also across the country, and it is therefore that we chose to undertake this project and deployed various advanced data analytics tools for the study. The companies in Kerala should set the example for other states by adopting a flexi work hour policy which will help reduce the peak hour traffic and also accidents. As a budding professional, I sincerely hope that the Government of India will consider adopting a law on flexi work hour policy in the future, considering the massive working population India has. We will also be submitting a report based on this study to the Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala and The Transport Commissioner for their perusal”
Even though Malapuram district has the highest population compared to any other districts in Kerala, Ernakulam accounted for the maximum number of road accidents and deaths. This is mainly due to the fact that Ernakulam has higher per capita income and hence more number of vehicles.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP, Thiruvananthapuram and Chairman, The All India Professionals Congress said that “I congratulate and thank Ms. Meera Sankar and Ms. Samira Fursule for their analytical and well-researched study on road safety in Kerala.”
Given the current trend of road accidents in the state, it is expected that road accidents will increase in Kerala by a further 7.8% by 2020 national estimates for road safety are of equal concern. Despite this, and the fact that a life is lost every four minutes due to road accidents in the country, it is surprising that, at present, we don’t have a dedicated authority to regulate road safety in our country.
Indeed, I have personally sought to introduce a separate Private Member’s Bill on road safety in the past that called for stringent laws, including the setting up of a regulatory body to ensure road safety, but this was sadly unsuccessful. However, I believe that any legislation has to be supported by a wider set of solutions, and as such, I am impressed and encouraged by the specific suggestions contained in this study, particularly the flexi-work hour policy that seeks to reduce traffic (and hence accidents) during peak office hours.
I hope that this report will be given the attention it deserves by the relevant authorities.”
The study gives several suggestions which includes urging companies to look at flexi work hour policies, implement and ensure that pillions riders also wear a helmet while on roads, and an awareness drive on lane discipline and prevention of rash driving by private buses.
Dr. Mathew Kuzhalnadan, Senior Supreme Court Lawyer and President, The All India Professionals Congress, Kerala said that “Though there is no lack of awareness about the disciplines that need to be followed while driving on roads, people often tend to neglect them. It is only after a disaster has happened that the awakening happens and by then it is too late. The state should not shy away from implementing stricter penalties for traffic violations. Though there is rule that all pillion riders on two wheelers should wear a helmet, it is hardly followed. The city of Bengaluru is a good example where the traffic police ensures that the pillion rider is wearing a helmet. We as responsible citizens should understand that it is for the benefit of the society at large that the Government might go strict on traffic violations and it is a moral responsibility of each one of us to abide by that law.”
The study also urges all political parties and citizens to come to a consensus on the long pending National Highway widening which will ensure smooth vehicular movement and more over allow dividers to be constructed.
Prof. Sarada Samantaray, the project guide added that “Data is gold. Given the data, we can predict the chances of getting involved in an accident for each and every driver who are on the roads driving at any point of time. I sense that effective use of technology can dramatically reduce the number of fatal accidents in the country. Data analytics can help hospitals for even keeping ambulances ready at spots and times which are vulnerable.”