The roads in India are infamous for numerous accidents resulting in loss of lives and disability. According to statistics, around five lakh` accidents happen annually in which 1.5 lakh lives are lost while three lakh people are left disabled. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra state government’s economic survey report for 2015-16 has revealed that 1, 19,479 road accidents have been reported in Mumbai in the last five years. During the same period, a total of 3, 22,076 accidents were reported across Maharashtra. This means that around 37 per cent of the accidents took place in Mumbai. This is an alarming number. Another worrying bit is that, during 2011-15, 2,596 lives were lost due to road accidents in Mumbai and 64,599 lives in the state of Maharashtra. According to these statistics, on a daily basis two lives are lost while a minimum of 12 people are left injured in Mumbai on account of road accidents.
Recently, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping- Nitin Gadkari announced that the government will spend Rs 11,000 crore to rectify the common accident spots.
The five Indian States that lead the charts in terms of number of deaths occurring on the roads are as follows:
The number of deaths that occur due to road accidents in Uttar Pradesh is the highest in the country. In 2003, road accidents accounted for 7,854 deaths, since then the death toll has been steadily on the rise. In 2011 the death toll grew stratospherically witnessing an increase of 6,337 deaths over the previous year.
The number of deaths occurring on the roads of Tamil Nadu in the year 2003 was 9,275. During the period of 2003 to 2005 the death toll remained almost the same. Since 2006, however the death toll has been steadily on the rise topping off to 15,000+ deaths in the years 2010 and 2011.
The death toll caused due to road accidents in the state of Andhra Pradesh is at par with Tamil Nadu. In 2003, the state witnessed 9,679 deaths on its roads and the death toll has been rising steadily since then. In the year 2011 however, the number of deaths fell by a few hundred when compared to the numbers in 2010.
The number of deaths caused by road accidents in Maharashtra in 2003 was the highest in the country at that time. Since then the death toll has increased but fluctuations are seen over the years. In 2011 the death toll stood at 13,057, lower than Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The number of deaths due to road accidents in the state of Karnataka stood at 6,195 in the year 2003. Since then there has been a rise in the death toll, topping off at 9590 in the year 2010. In the year 2011, the number of deaths fell by over 500 when compared to 2010.From 2009 to 2015, 125 people on an average have been killed on the 94.5- km Mumbai-Pune Express, another 195 have suffered serious injuries, and 313 others have suffered minor injuries on the expressway every year, according to statistics obtained from the Highway Safety Patrol under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. While the number of fatalities from road accidents in Maharashtra increased from 12,803 in 2014 to 13,212 in 2015, the number of deaths on the expressway fell from 133 in 2014 to 118 last year.
Earlier this year, K.P Bakshi, additional chief secretary, home, said the authorities are taking help from various NGOs and experts to make the expressway a zero-fatality corridor in the next four years. According to experts, four factors – engineering, enforcement, emergency care and education – are crucial to reducing highway accidents. The state government and highway police have been plugging unauthorized gaps that motorists use to make dangerous and illegal U-turns. Specialized Briefen wire ropes are also being installed at strategic points. They are designed to absorb the energy of an impact, minimizing injury to passengers and damage to vehicles.
The state government is also considering installing CCTV cameras along the highway and booking drivers found to be speeding and cutting lanes, two major causes of accidents. Another major cause is driver fatigue, said an HSP official. Another official said CCTV cameras are crucial to cracking down on speeding and lane cutting, and making up for the manpower shortage.