A research conducted by the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) called on the government to invest more in road safety to reduce the impact of accidents on the economy.

The study, authored by Professor Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Faculty, Department of Engineering Design, IIT-M and Dr. Nijina M Nazar, Senior Project Scientist, Department of Engineering Design, IIT-M, was released on Sunday by the Minister of Health of Tamil Nadu Ma Subramanien.

Titled “Socio-Economic Costs of Road Accidents in Tamil Nadu”, the study was undertaken by the Center of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS)/RBG Labs at IIT-M and resulted in three estimates different from the socio-economic impact.

These estimates have been calculated taking into account medical costs, loss of tax revenue, which is also considered as loss of production, human costs, vehicle damage, civil damage and administrative costs such as police, insurance, legal fees.

“The hidden truth in all accidents is the costs involved and this study by the Center of Excellence for Road Safety at IIT Madras can sensitize the government and the public on these costs. The government can use this study to identify the costs implicit in an accident, use it to improve financial planning and invest appropriately in initiatives to improve road safety in the state,” the minister said.

One of the strengths of the study is that it includes the costs of travel delays due to road accidents and the efficiency tax, which are costs the government may have to impose on society to revive the economy after incurring these huge costs, the institute said.

Elaborating on this study, Professor Balasubramanian said road safety initiatives are common to all governments around the world and the amount of investment required is currently being made from a welfare state model.

“From a cost-to-economics perspective, this study can help policy makers calibrate and plan for higher targeted investments in initiatives. More specifically, investments focused on solving public health problems, from the evacuation of a victim from an accident scene to their rehabilitation, can be considered from an overall cost to society perspective”, did he declare.

The total impact in financial terms was obtained using the hybrid human capital approach method, which uses the present value of the potential earnings of the victim encountered by the accident, the IIT-M said. The study also stated that the socio-economic cost of traffic accidents in Tamil Nadu for the year 2019 was in the range of Rs 21,078.83 crore to Rs 56,543.29 crore.

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