Eight out of 10 Delhiites did not take valid test to get their driver’s licence: Survey

Nine in ten respondents who participated in a public perception survey on road safety felt that road crashes in Delhi have become more frequent and lethal even as eight out of 10 admitted they had not taken a valid driving test to get their driver’s licence.

Conducted by Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD), which works for the cause of road safety, the survey was conducted among 30,000 respondents between August and December last year.

The survey, aimed at assessing people’s views on the state of road safety in Delhi, revealed that 68% of the respondents felt unsafe while using roads; 26% of those who said they felt unsafe on the road were largely car drivers. The report also noted that 44% of road crash victims were pedestrians.

Additionally, the report found that respondents aged above 35 felt more concerned about road safety as compared to others and were of the view that road crashes had risen both in numbers and severity.

The report also factored in the doubling of the vehicular population in the last decade imposing more limitations on existing road infrastructure which was structurally flawed, thus leading to accidents and fatalities.

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According to the report, “…A large number of accidents take place due to lack of motorable space and impediments on the roads, mainly unauthorized parking, encroachment, construction, pavement dwellers etc.”

Five major causes posing hazards to road safety were speeding, drunken driving, not wearing seat belts/lack of child restraint seats, not wearing helmets, and jaywalking, the report stated.

According to the report, 74% respondents said they don’t check their speed while driving while 81% admitted they had driven under the influence of alcohol at least once; the report posited that just a 10% reduction in speed could bring down the risk of crashing by 30%.

The survey stated that 70% of the respondents didn’t attend a proper driving school ever and over 80% never gave a valid driving test to get a licence.

Pedestrians, the report sought to flag, had it tough with encroached pavements, roads often not compatible for walking, buses not stopping at precise spots, few foot over bridges and located far apart with people often unwilling to walk the distance. While vehicles, the report sought to flag, don’t stop or slow down at zebra crossings; on the other hand, 83% pedestrians, according to the report, did not use zebra crossings or foot over bridges, preferring jaywalking.

Quoting data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the report noted that over 4.5 lakh road crashes, which claimed over 1.5 lakh lives and injured over 4.4 lakh people, occurred in 2022 reflecting an increase of almost 12% in accidents, 9.4% in fatalities, and 15.3% in injuries compared to the previous year.

“India grapples with a dual reality regarding its road network—a catalyst for progress yet a breeding ground for a silent pandemic. The alarming statistics underscore the urgent need for comprehensive solutions, addressing issues of speeding, drunk driving, laws, enforcement and so many others besides bringing down the socio-economic toll, loss of lives, and lasting impact on victims,” road safety expert and CADD founder Prince Singhal said.

Out of the 30,000 respondents surveyed:

85.3% of respondents were involved in a road accident

74% of drivers admitted to never checking their speed while driving

81.2% of respondents agreed to have driven under the influence

83.3% of respondents said they did not necessarily use zebra crossings or FOBs

39.2% do not wear a helmet while driving or when riding pillion

70% wore seatbelts while driving, only 21% admitted to wearing it in the co-passenger seat and barely 2% admitted to wearing it in the rear seat

69.7% of respondents mostly male did not learn driving/ riding from registered driving schools

80.2% of drivers admitted to not taking a valid driving test to get their license