Road traffic fatalities climbed by over 17% in 2021 compared to 2020. According to the most recent NCRB study, this implies an INCREASE in the incidence of fatalities per 1,000 automobiles in India.
In 2021, 1.55 lakh persons died in road accidents in India, up from 1.33 lakh in 2020, when the country was shut down for much of the year. In 2021, there were 4.03 lakh recorded traffic accidents, up from 3.54 lakh the previous year. However, the number of accidents in 2021 was much fewer than in 2019, when 4.37 lakh mishaps were registered, killing 1.54 lakh individuals.
As in previous years, two-wheelers were responsible for the majority of fatalities (44.5%). Buses were responsible for 3% of all fatalities in accidents. According to the research, speeding was responsible for 87,000 deaths, accounting for more than half of all fatalities, while unsafe and irresponsible driving was responsible for 42,000 deaths.
Tamil Nadu saw the greatest rise in traffic accident cases from 2020 to 2021 (from 46,443 to 57,090), followed by Madhya Pradesh (from 43,360 to 49,493), Uttar Pradesh (from 30,593 to 36,509), Maharashtra (from 24,908 to 30,086), and Kerala (from 24,908 to 30,086). (from 27,998 to 33,051).
In 2021, these road accidents injured 3,73,884 people and killed 1,73,860. The highest number of fatalities in road accidents occurred in Uttar Pradesh (24,711), followed by Tamil Nadu (16,685 deaths) and Maharashtra (16,446 deaths).
According to The Lancet’s new analytical series on global road safety, India and other nations may reduce accident-related mortality by 25 to 40%. This is based on data showing, when applied to four well-known risk variables, preventative treatments yield positive results:
High velocity, Driving while impaired by alcohol, Failure to use adequate helmets, failure to wear seat belts, and failure to use kid restraints Concerns raised in emerging nations The structural issues associated with unplanned motorization and urbanisation persist.
In India, rapid highway development occurs without balancing fast and slow traffic. There is a high prevalence of rusted automobiles, wrong-side driving, a lack of competent traffic enforcement troops, and so on.
Weak enforcement of traffic regulations: People rarely obey traffic laws and prefer to bribe police officers rather than pay expensive challans. Higher vehicle speeds and traffic volumes on highways have been linked to an increase in highway accidents. Some of the most serious technical flaws include gaps in the median on national roads, untreated crossings, and missing collision barriers.
The most serious behavioural difficulties include wrong-side driving, excessive vehicle lane utilisation, and mass violation of traffic lights, as well as alcohol. The lack of quick trauma care on roadways contributes to such high deaths.
The Motor Vehicles Act of India was modified in 2019, however its implementation by state governments is inconsistent and incomplete. The Act established a National Road Safety Board with advisory powers to modify road safety. The World Bank has granted a loan of $250 million to India’s State Support Programme for Road Safety.
State governments’ priorities, on the other hand, remain traditional, with an emphasis on user behaviour (drivers and other road users), education, and inconsistent enforcement.
Low priority is given to structural changes such as raising engineering standards for roads, signage, and signals, training for scientific accident investigation, improving policing skills, and transferring responsibility for road infrastructure design, creation, and maintenance to government departments.
The ambitious modifications to the Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act) in 2019 did not produce substantial effects. Major interventions in India, originally proposed by the Sundar Committee (2007) and mandated by the Supreme Court in Rajasekaran versus Union of India, have failed to address the issue.
According to the Sundar Committee, India lacked a technically competent investigation arm capable of determining the cause of accidents. There is no clarity on whether such units have been developed by states to help in traffic investigations, or whether the insurance sector has pushed for them to appropriately assess blame. In the absence of scientific inquiry, perceptions generally guide culpability determination.
According to the Lancet, better trauma care facilities might prevent 17% of road traffic injuries. This is essential since numerous accidents occur on highways in rural regions, and victims are transferred to under-equipped district hospitals or medical college facilities. Positive user behaviour, such as slower travel, the usage of helmets and seat belts, might save thousands of lives.
In the short term, slowing traffic, especially near habitations, separating slower vehicles, mandating seat belt and helmet use, and clamping down on inebriated drivers might provide quantifiable results.
We must implement measures such as road safety education. Improved road design, maintenance, and warning signs, Crackdown on driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, Strict enforcement of traffic regulations, Encouraging improved road behaviour, Ensuring vehicle roadworthiness Improved first-aid and paramedic treatment