Sunday, May 4, 2014

Is technology contributing more to road accidents than road safety?

Across India, new roads built with modern technology, proper signage and safety features have failed to bring down accident rates.

But according to analysts of human behaviour, this is not surprising at all. “The smoother, wider and better a road is, the more accidents there are likely to be -- and this is because of natural human behaviour,” said Biju Dominic, chief executive officer of Final Mile, a consultancy firm that uses behavioural science to solve problems for clients.

Dominic and Final Mile’s co-founder Ram Prasad explained the link between good roads and higher accident rates through the concept of risk compensation: the safer the situation, the greater the tendency of people to take risks.

The theory of risk compensation also holds true for the kind of vehicles being used -- high-end cars with sophisticated features are more likely to have accidents than simpler cars, says Prasad. If a car has an anti-lock braking system, the driver knows he can bring the car to a halt in a microsecond, so his mind automatically compensates and he is likely to apply the brakes later than usual.

So, going by this theory, we are at more risk today than previous years and the risks will be far greater in future as the human mind offsets the security offered by technology. Hence, the only solution that can provide safer roads & security to life is the Human Mind itself and the constraints practised on it while driving, caution being the most important element

The significance of 108

Ever wondered why the number 108 was chosen to save people’s lives? It’s a number which goes way back in history and can be found in mathematics, astronomy, in scriptures and beyond. It’s a number upon which some of the key universe elements which form the pillars of life are based. Some consider 108 a sacred number, some say there isn’t enough proof to determine the significance of 108. Below are a few references to the existence of 108 in history and today.


Sanskrit alphabet has 54 letters, each has masculine and feminine form called shiva and shakti respectively. 54 times 2 = 108.


It is said that if one can be so calm in meditation to have only 108 breaths a day that enlightenment will come.


Hinduism:  The names of Hindu Deities = 108.

Early Hinduism: The Last part of Vedas called Upanishads are traditionally 108 Upanishads.

Islam: 108 is used to refer to God.

Jain: there are 108 virtues

Buddhaism/Japan: A bell is chimed 108 times to celebrate the New Year.


The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.


There are 12 constellation and 9 arc segments. 9 times 12 equals 108.


River Ganga: The sacred river in India, River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees and a latitude of 9 degrees. 12 times 9 = 108.

Martial Arts:

According to Chinese and Indian Martial Arts, Marma Adi and Ayurveda, there are 108 pressure points in a human body.

So, what could be a better number for emergency medical care than 108, a number deeply engrained in us, to make a difference to human existence and give life a fighting chance once again.