Disaster Events |

Track Troubles: Road Accidents in India

The statistics of road accidents in India are alarming. Development and progress on one side translates into a growing motor traffic on the other, and then Indian roads are far from ideal and can hardly ensure a smooth and continuous flow of traffic. No wonder stress on roads coupled with an irate driver inadvertently leads to conflict, road rage and accidents.

With the growing population in cities of India , the load on the roads have increased. The smallest error in judgement can injure pedestrians. Then again, vehicle fault and malfunction also amount to a large number of accidents. Over exhausted bald or slick tyres are very dangerous at high speeds as they are prone to skidding- reducing the efficiency of the brakes.

According to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways under the Government of India’s report 1,47,913 people were killed in road accidents during the year of 2016 and 150,785 people were killed in the subsequent year of 2017.

The table below, based on data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways India, shows the state-wise data on the number of road accident mortalities:

State 2016 2017
Andhra Pradesh 8541 8060
Arunachal Pradesh 149 110
Assam 2572 2783
Bihar 4901 5554
Chhattisgarh 3908 4136
Goa 336 328
Gujarat 8136 7289
Haryana 5024 5120
Himachal Pradesh 1271 1203
Jammu & Kashmir 958 926
Jharkhand 3027 3256
Karnataka 11133 10609
Kerala 4287 4131
Madhya Pradesh 9646 10177
Maharashtra 12935 12264
Manipur 81 136
Meghalaya 150 182
Mizoram 70 60
Nagaland 46 41
Odisha 4463 4790
Punjab 5077 4463
Rajasthan 10465 10444
Sikkim 85 78
Tamil Nadu 17218 16157
Telangana 7219 6596
Tripura 173 161
Uttarakhand 962 942
Uttar Pradesh 19320 20124
West Bengal 6544 5769
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 17 21
Chandigarh 151 107
Delhi 1591 1584

Road traffic not only disrupts the smooth ongoing daily life it also bounds the family and the nation as a whole to face considerable amount of economic loss. According to the World Health Organization the economic losses thus arise are  from the cost of treatment and loss of productivity for those killed or disabled by a road accident mishap and form the families that take time off from work or study to care for the injured family member or friend. The road traffic crashes costs most of the countries in the world almost 3 percent loss in their Gross Domestic Product.

Road accidents in India depend on various factors like human error, road defects, engineering defects of the vehicle, non-availability of pedestrian facility, cyclist facility , weather conditions, visibility etc.

Given below is a table on the percentage of road accident deaths occurring due to some very generic factors on Indian roads in the year 2016, based on data from  a report published by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Transport Research Wing in 2016:

Factor Accidents Killed Injured
Fault of driver of motor vehicle 4,03,598 1,21,126 4,14,785
Fault of Driver of non-motorized vehicle 6,546 2,250 7,620
Fault of Pedestrian 8,298 3,091 7,465
Fault of Passenger 5,200 2,181 4,535
Mechanical Defect in motor vehicle 6,688 2,823 6,956
Engineering/ Designing fault of Roads 1,289 589 1,217
Defect in road condition (surface of roads/surface condition of roads) 7,158 2,983 6,579
Stray Animal 1,604 629 1,307
Poor light condition 3,833 1,631 4,477
Other causes 20,858 7,312 23,380
Causes not known 15,580 6,170 16,303
Total 4,80,652 1,50,785 4,94,624

This table helps us in understanding the nature and trends of road accidents in India. We can clearly see that while some factors resulting in Road accidents in India can’t be easily avoided some factors demand serious attention.

Some factors like the fault of driver should not be neglected and according to the kind of damage it does to the road safety it ought to be put to scrutiny and ways should be found to get rid of it completely.

The table below shows the sub division of fault of driver factor wise number of road accidents happening in the year 2016 according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Transport Research Wing under Government of India;

Responsibility of driver Accidents Killed Injured
Exceeding lawful speed 2,68,341 73,896 2,82,870
Intake of Alcohol 14,894 6,131 11,648
Jumping Red Light 4,491 1,260 4,636
Driving on Wrong Side 17,654 5,705 17,908
Jumping/ Changing lanes 8,513 2,795 8,177
Overtaking 29,647 9,462 29,171
Using of Mobile phones during driving 4,976 2,138 29,171
Asleep or fatigued or sick 4,552 1,796 4,685
Other improper actions 50,530 17,943 50,944

After the analysis above it is clear that the prime reason for road accidents in India occur due to over speeding. The factor of unlawful exceeding speed has claimed the 66.5 percent of the road accidents happening in India. Hence, almost 9,462 people die due to irresponsible behaviour of the drivers in India.

Road accidents in India – Prevention

Road traffic injuries can be mitigated. Addressing issues such as speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, promoting the use of helmets, seatbelts and other restrains; ensuring that people walking, and cycling are more easily visible, improving the design of roads and vehicles, enforcing road safety regulations, and improving emergency response services has demonstrated that the needless deaths and disabilities caused by road traffic collisions can be prevented. In fact, road friendly policies and strict implementations of traffic rules and regulations could result in a decline in the incidence of road accidents. A substantial part of the reduction in fatalities is to be attributed to a set of measures aimed at improving the lot of pedestrians and cyclists through an improved road design and a better traffic management.

Road safety is a result of deliberate efforts on the part of many sectors of society – government and non-government alike. An accident proof transport system is attainable with a well- designed and vigorous safety education programme. A safety culture is to be inculcated among motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Needless to add, the traffic facilities have to be improved too. Only properly maintained or road worthy motor vehicles should be allowed to ply in the public places. There should be strict enforcements of traffic rules and motor laws. Lastly road safety campaign is an effective tool to carb accidents and it is the urgent need of the hour.

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