Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), Government of India has released a Report on Road Accidents in India 2016 prepared by Transport Research wing (TRW). According to the report, the numbers of persons killed in road accidents in India has increased to 150,785, compared to 146,133 people died in 2015.

The number suggests that at least 413 people died everyday in 1,317 road accidents. India accounts for highest number of road deaths in the world, i.e. 10% of global road accidents deaths (Source: International Road Federation). Road accidents cost India about 3% of its gross domestic product every year (Source: World Bank).

Number of Fatal Accidents and Persons Killed, 2011-17

The report pointed out that the cities with a large population saw majority of accidents. One of the key reasons for increased numbers of fatal accidents is the rapid increase in the number of registered vehicles. As per estimates, India has around more than 200 million registered motor vehicles, out of which 75% are two-wheelers/motorcycles.

(Pune Road in the nigh - Photo (c) IndianExpress)

Some of key points highlighted by the study are:

(i) Almost half or 46.3% (69,851 persons) of the road fatalities victim in 2016 were in the age-group of 18-35 years. Age group of 18-45 accounted for a share of 68.6% (103,409 persons) and working age group of 18-60 accounted for a share of 83.3% (125,583 persons) in the total road accident fatalities

(ii) 37.6% of total deaths occurred on other roads (means city and village roads), whereas, National Highways accounts for 34.5% accident deaths and State Highways accounted for 27.9% accident deaths

(iii) The states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have accounted for maximum number of deaths in 2016. Whereas, Delhi had the highest number of deaths (1,591) due to road accidents in 2016. It is also important to highlight that Delhi has highest numbers of private vehicles

(iv) Drivers’ fault is single most important factor responsible for road accidents (84%) and accident deaths (80.3%) on all roads in 2016

(v) Over-speeding is the main reasons for road accidents and accident death, i.e. 66.5% of all road accidents and 61% of accident death respectively.  Usage of cellular phones caused over 2000 deaths in 2016

(vi) Two-wheelers (33.8%) accounted for the highest share in the total number of road accidents followed by cars, jeeps and taxis (23.6%), trucks, tempos, tractors and other articulated vehicles (21.0%), Buses (7.8%), Auto-Rickshaws (6.5%) and other motor vehicles (2.8%). Also, 52,500 two-wheeler riders killed in road accidents, i.e. 35% of accident death

(vii) 40.3% of the vehicles involved in accidents had usage age of 0-5 years, while vehicle with usage age of 5-10 years accounted for 32.7% of accidents

India is committed to reducing the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50% by 2020. However, there is need to drastic measures to save precious human life. Some of the key measures include:

a)     The government should make investment in rail and bus transport to increase the share of public transport. It has been observed that road accidents in India are increasing owing to rapid urbanization and highest motorization growth rate. Public transport will help to reduce the number of road accidents and accidental deaths

b)     Shared mobility like carpooling, bike-taxi, ride-sharing etc. should be promoted to reduce congestion and traffic on the road. The data clearly shows that most of the accidents are happening on other roads. This can be avoided by reducing the numbers of vehicles

c)     Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport and Highway pointed out that 30% of driving license in India are not real. The government should make the driving license issuing process stringent and transparent. In India, there are only 5 vehicle categories of driving license, compared to 15 vehicle categories in Europe

d)     The government should use vehicle telematics and install surveillance system on roads to monitor the speed limit of the vehicles. Over-speeding vehicles should be fined heavily. This can be done in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model by paying from fines collected

e)     The government should linked insurance premium of the vehicle or driver with the driving behaviour. A driver with bad traffic history should pay more insurance premium compared to safe drivers