Road accidents

Death on roads

Print edition : April 17, 2015

A passenger bus that overturned after it plunged into a gorge in Garhwa district of Jharkhand on March 30. Photo: AP

Deaths on roads continue to account for the majority of fatalities caused by accidents, natural or manmade.

ONE accident every minute and one death every four minutes: these are stark facts about Indian roads. In 2013, there were 4,86,476 road accidents, which resulted in 1,37,572 deaths and injuries to 4,94,893 persons. Simply put, every fourth accident in India resulted in a death.

As many as 1.24 million deaths took people across the world in road accidents in 2010, data gathered by the World Health Organisation from 182 countries show. More than a tenth of these, 1.34 lakh deaths, happened in India. The same year, China accounted for over 65,000 deaths. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data indicate that the number of persons killed in road accidents showed a marginal decline subsequently: 1,39,091 in 2012 and 1,37,423 in 2013. (There is a slight variation in the NCRB and Union Ministry of Road Transport statistics; the Ministry’s publication, “Road Accidents in India 2013 Report”, records that there were 1,37,572 fatalities in 2013 as against 1,38,258 in 2012.)

Tamil Nadu, deadliest State

Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Haryana and Bihar together accounted for 88.4 per cent of all road accidents in the country in 2013. Tamil Nadu had the highest number of road accidents (66,238) and the highest number of persons injured in road accidents (75,681) in 2013, says the report.

As many as 28.1 per cent in total road accidents occurred on the national highways, accounting for 33.2 per cent in total number of persons killed in road accidents during 2013. State highways accounted for 25.6 per cent of the total accidents and 29.6 per cent of the fatalities during the period.

“Amongst the vehicle categories, two-wheelers accounted for the highest share in total road accidents (26.3 per cent) in 2013, followed by cars, jeeps and taxis (22.2 per cent), trucks, tempos, tractors and other articulated vehicles (21.1 per cent), other motor vehicles (9.9 per cent), buses (8.6 per cent), and auto rickshaws (6.4 per cent),” the Ministry’s report notes.

The good news is that it is for the first time that two consecutive years (2012, 2013) have recorded a decline in road accident deaths. The bad news is that deaths due to road accidents surpass deaths in any other category of accidents, natural or manmade, by a big mile.