How Dangerous Are India’s Roads?
Driving in India is not easy, in fact it has always been dangerous, but the recent statistics show that Indian roads are getting worse. The numbers of road accidents rose by 2.5%, from about 4.89 lakh in 2014 to 5.01 lakh in 2015.
Killer Roads: Rising Fatalities Due To Accidents
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in 2015 around 1,46,133 people were killed and 5,00,279 were injured in road accidents in India. This number is not only the highest that India has ever recorded in history, but it also represents a 53.9% increase over the last decade, and nearly a tenfold increase since 1970.
The Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, released by World Health Organization (WHO) states that more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes in the world and India accounts for more than 2 lakh of those deaths.
As per the SaveLIFE Foundation analysis, which is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to improving road safety, “In the year 2015, India nearly lost the equivalent to the entire population of Shimla.”
The Deadly Two-Wheelers
Two-wheeler riders are at the highest risk of being killed in a road accident. 31.5% of the people killed in crashes in 2015 involved two-wheelers.
Road Accidents: State-Wise Break-Up
Tamil Nadu (69,059), Maharashtra (63,805), Madhya Pradesh (54,947) and Karnataka (44,011) are four of the worst performing states, with the death toll due to accidents at approximately 8% of the total fatalities globally.
Road Accidents: City-Wise Break-Up
Delhi recorded the highest number of accidents, injuries and fatalities among all Indian cities, followed by Jaipur, Bengaluru and Kanpur.
According to Piyush Tewari, the Founder and CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation, “The trend of increasing deaths reiterates the fact that road users must be protected through a comprehensive legislation. It has been over 4 months since the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Parliament. The delay in passing the bill is causing irreparable harm to the country with 17 people getting killed every hour in road crashes in India. We urge the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which is currently reviewing the bill, to further strengthen the Bill, and submit its report to the Parliament before the upcoming budget session of the Parliament.”
The analysis done on road safety by the SaveLIFE foundation shows that the numbers of road traffic deaths have increased since 2007 in India. India accounts 46.3 per cent as ‘Vulnerable Road Users’ (a group of road users such as pedestrians, cyclist or two-wheelers who are at a higher risk of road accidents) who die because of road accidents. What’s worse is that our country has no laws protecting vulnerable road users.
Saji, Director, Operations of SaveLIFE Foundation says, “The existing legislation on road to safety is highly inadequate, the more we delay in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, the more people will die each day in our country. Passing the bill is the first step for safer roads in India, second is of course to ensure that the execution is done properly.”
43.7% of the road accidents in India are caused due to over speeding, this can easily be avoided if people drive with care and follow speed limits.
So while India definitely needs stricter road safety laws, but at the same time India needs more responsible drivers – who drive more cautiously on the roads and follow the rules. Only then can India’s killer roads become safer and loss of life prevented.