New Delhi: Indian Head Injury Foundation was awarded with The Prince Michael Award which is an award for road safety.
Dr Rajendra Prasad, Honorary Medical Director of IHIF, received the award on the team’s behalf. Dr Rajendra Prasad is a Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards recognise the most outstanding examples of international road safety initiatives and are given public recognition through the scheme. For over thirty years HRH Prince Michael of Kent has played a leading role in supporting improved road safety both in the United Kingdom and around the world.
According to the data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of India, in 2019 road traffic accidents resulted in the death of 1,54,732 people.
A Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India report states that 11,168 children lost their lives in road crashes in 2019 which is an increase of 11.94% over the previous year. The majority of these deaths occurred in children riding pillion on two wheelers without a helmet.
Two-wheelers remain the most unsafe mode of transport with crashes due to helmets resulting in 35% of all road deaths in 2016 .
The United Nations Motorcycle Helmet Study (UNECE) in 2016 estimated that wearing an appropriate helmet improves chances of survival of bikers by 42%.
The Indian Head Injury Foundation (IHIF) in an effort to reduce such deaths undertook the Children’s “Ride with Safety” initiative. In this programme school children and their parents were made aware of various aspects of road safety including wearing helmets and seatbelts, safe crossing of roads and the dangerous consequences of head injuries. Since the programme started in 2015, IHIF has conducted this programme in 160 Delhi Government Schools involving 40,000 children. Children’s helmets for age group 9 to 14 years have been distributed free to over 30,000 children.
The initiative was supported by the Apollo Foundation and other corporates through their CSR programme.
For a similar programme for under-privileged children IHIF was awarded the 2017 British Medical Journal (BMJ) South Asia Award under the category “Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative of the year”.
Elaborating further Dr Rajendra Prasad said, “Head injuries from road traffic accidents result in deaths of more than 10,000 children in India every year and 5 times as many are left with serious disabilities. Most of these deaths could have been prevented if these children were wearing helmets. Many of those children who survive these accidents are left with permanent disabilities because of poor pre-hospital care and lack of neuro-rehabilitation facilities in India.”
The new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 of the Government of India makes it mandatory for both the driver and pillion rider to wear helmets on two-wheelers. It remains to be seen what effect this act will have in reducing the number of deaths through road traffic accidents as enforcement of this Act is the responsibility of individual States.