Road accidents: India
This is a collection of newspaper articles selected for the excellence of their content.
1970-2017: the problem’s magnitude, causes, worst states
Source: Ministry of Road Transport & Highways; Graphic: Karthic R Iyer
Bad drivers are responsible for 84% of road accidents in India. Steep fines attempt to tackle this problem and prevent road fatalities
India has a bad driver problem. A road accident happens every minute in the country in which at least one person is injured and every third accident claims a life, on an average. Bad drivers account for 84% of these accidents and speeding was the reason behind 70% of these in 2017. 8,000 people lost their lives because the driver of the vehicle was either drunk or talking on the mobile phone. Another 20,000 were injured for the same reasons. The amended Motor Vehicles Act has hiked the fines for such violations, but speeding and using cell phones are compoundable offences for which the states can set their own fines and many have sharply revised the penalties. While this may seem popular, it is unlikely to deter rash driving.
Potholes aren't as big a problem
The steep fines have not gone down well with the public, which has been quick to criticise the poor condition of Indian roads. The numbers, however, tell a different story. In 2017, potholes were responsible for 9,423 accidents in which 3,595 lives were lost — a fraction of the deaths caused by bad driving.
Hiking penalties marks change in strategy… Most of the steps taken in the past focused on the victims of road accidents instead of errant drivers. So, last year India made it mandatory for car or two-wheeler buyers to get a three- or five-year insurance policy. We have a scheme to set up a trauma centre at every 100km on national highways. We have a Good Samaritan law so that people can help victims. However, the new Motor Vehicles Act, which has led to a steep increase in penalty for traffic violations is an attempt to tackle the cause of the problem — bad drivers.
...As motorists fall in line
The fear of fines seems to be working. With the penalty for driving an uninsured vehicle now higher by up to four times, there’s a rush to buy insurance. Online insurance aggregator Policybazaar.com reported a spike in the sale of insurance policies by up to seven times for two-wheelers and three times for four-wheelers in the first week after the new law came into effect on September 1. Sale of helmets has gone up. Compliance with traffic rules has increased.
But not all are on the same page…
Steep penalties, the biggest tool to curb errant driving, is now being cited by states to either not implement the Act or reduce the fines. Gujarat has already announced that it will not charge such stiff penalties. Karnataka has said it will lower penalties. States like Bihar, Goa, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttarakhand too have called for lowering fines. The irony is that among these are some that see the highest number of road fatalities.
(Statistics, analyses, trends)
Accident prone roads/ highways:the worst stretches
The Times of India, Sep 04 2016
Delhi-Jaipur highway most fatal with 190 deaths a year in 2010-15
The Delhi-Jaipur stretch of NH-8 continues to be one of the deadliest highway corridors in the country with an average of 191 deaths annually between 2010 and 2015. In an RTI response to applicant Vedpal of Delhi, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said till June this year 104 people were killed in road crashes on this stretch. The widening of this highway stretch from Gurgaon to Jaipur had started in 2009 and it's yet to be completed.
“Recently I was going to Jaipur when I saw two major accidents. In one case, a loaded truck had overturned close to a big pothole. So, I filed the RTI to find out how many road accidents were reported in the past six years and how many people were killed. What is the significance of expanding more highways, if they end up claiming more lives?“ Vedpal asked.
According to data provided by NHAI, nearly 3,000 road crashes were reported annually during the 2010-2015 period on this 230km stretch and the figure was maximum last year at 213. In the first six months of this year, 1,637 crashes were recorded. Considering high number of fatalities, injuries and crashes on this stretch, the road transport ministry had rolled out the pilot cashless scheme to provide free medical care for the first 48 hours. But it was discontinued recently. Now NHAI will soon revive the scheme so that the injured can get assured ambulance service to reach hospitals and required treatment.
Indian highways are more fatal as these pass through habitations and further expansion poses bigger hazard unless enough caution is taken during the implementation stage. Last year 51,204 people were killed on national highways, which was 35% of the total fatalities on all roads.
Moreover, failure to provide adequate cross over facilities such as underpasses and foot over bridges often push the number of fatal crashes as the speed of vehicles usually increases because of better roads.
2011-2014: highways with the highest fatalities
See graphic 'States where highways had 15 highest fatalities in 2011-14'
2016: 2% of roads account for 35% of fatalities
National Highways constitute only 2% of India’s road length, but account for nearly 35% deaths in road accidents. The corresponding figures for state highways are 3% and 28%.
Of the total 1.5 lakh road fatalities in 2016, over 94,000 people died on national and state highways. On an average, one life is lost in every three accidents on NHs and state highways. Road safety experts feel the data highlights the need for dedicated patrol forces on these highspeed corridors since there is hardly any enforcement of traffic rules by local police.
Expert: Need enforcement mechanism on highways
Traffic violations such as speeding, drunk driving, leaving vehicles parked on road and overloading are rampant and are the main reasons of crashes and fatalities.
The SC had in November also observed, “It is also necessary to set up special patrol forces along the National Highways and State Highways for which necessary steps must be taken by the state governments and Union Territories.”
The first proposal to set up a uniform agency to man the highways was mooted by CISF in 2005, but it did not get any push from the gover nment.
“As we build more highways and expressways, we also need to have some enforcement mechanism in place, else we are going to see more fatalities. The local police lack manpower to monitor violations on highways and expressways. We need a special force that’s trained to catch offenders involved in speeding, drunk driving, overloading and lane violations. The call has to be taken by the Centre and it can rope in the state governments,” said road safety expert Rohit Baluja, who was involved in making the plan for a uniform agency mooted by CISF 13 years back.
Highlighting how each state has inadequate manpower to manage traffic and detect violations, the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) in 2015 suggested that to monitor over 85 lakh vehicles and manage traffic besides numerous VVIP movements, Delhi alone would require 15,345 traffic police personnel, Mumbai with much less number of about 23.33 lakh vehicles would need 4,779 traffic policemen and Lucknow 3,852.
Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai saw minor decline in road deaths in 2018 as compared to the previous year but Delhi recorded an increase of 106 fatalities in the same period, accident data received from different city traffic police showed.
The data showed that the decline in road deaths was maximum in Chennai, where 1,260 people died in accidents last year as compared to 1,299 in 2017. In Kolkata, fatalities stood at 294 in 2018 against 329 the previous year. Mumbai recorded a minor reduction from 490 roads deaths in 2017 to 475 last year.
Comparatively smaller cities like Patna, Agra, Surat, Allahabad, Jodhpur, Nasik, Rajkot, Bhopal and Thrissur saw significant increase in road fatalities. This pushed the total road deaths close to 17,700 last year. In 2017, the number of lives lost in 50 million-plus cities was around 17,000. Road safety experts said more deaths in road accidents in non-metro cities indicated the need to put a stronger enforcement mechanism and there was a need to come up with interventions to improve the safety of vulnerable road users, which includes pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders.
“These (smaller cities) are fit cases to go for technology-based enforcement and we need to carry out detailed investigation to zero in on the exact cause of fatal accidents. Some believe that increased congestion on roads may have reduced the number of fatalities in some cities but it’s not true considering that the number of deaths on Delhi roads has increased,” said K K Kapila, former president of International Road Federation.
The recently passed Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act has made provision for wider adoption of technology for monitoring violation of traffic rules and the transport ministry has set up working committees to finalise the rules to implement the amended law.
TOI on September 7 had reported how the total strength of traffic police in India was a little over 72,000 in 2017 while the number of vehicles registered was nearly 20 crore, which is highly inadequate to meet the requirement.
2016-18: Major accidents on the Delhi- Murthal segment
2016-18: Major accidents on the Delhi- Murthal segment
Panipat-Jalandhar highway (NH-44)
Each kilometre of the Panipat-Jalandhar highway (NH-44) falling in Punjab claimed around five lives between 2016 and 2018 and the socio-economic cost of accidents was around Rs 933 crore, according to a study jointly conducted by Punjab Police and the office of traffic advisor in the state.
The report said 880 people died on this 175-km stretch between 2016 and 2018 while 525 were left seriously injured and another 183 received minor injuries.
Socio-economic cost is calculated by estimating the direct financial loss, impact on family and health system. This first-of-its kind study to estimate the total loss due to accidents on a stretch of national highway comes at a time when India has been struggling to reduce the number of road fatalities. In 2018, the number of people killed in road crashes increased to 1.51 lakh compared with 1.48 lakh in the previous year. Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had told RS on July 22 how the number of fatalities on NHs had crossed 54,000 in 2018.
Traffic advisor to Punjab government Navdeep Asija said the study had calculated the socio-economic cost based on thePlanning Commission report, which had estimated annual cost of road crashes to be around 3% of GDP. He said the SC committee on road safety had asked them to submit the report for its consideration as well. “Based upon a Planning Commission report, the equivalence factor against per road fatality was calculated as Rs 89 lakh. Adjusting it to the value for the year 2018, the equivalence factor against fatality cost is Rs 1.6 crore. Keeping in mind the study of the Planning Commission as a base, the cost of social-economic loss on NH-44 is calculated as Rs 933 crore in the past three years,” the report said.
According to the report, nearly 73% of the fatalities happened at 92 black spots. “This means, about 40 km of the entire 175 km requires immediate geometric improvement and has some serious design errors, especially in the areas where NH-44 crosses urban limits,” it said.
Among 53 cities, Delhi has the notorious distinction of registering the highest number of fatalities due to dangerous driving or overtaking, followed by Jaipur, Mumbai and Asansol in West Bengal, according to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau.
In 2019, such offences caused 1,978 accidents in Delhi and claimed 529 lives while the Pink City reported 1,460 such accidents in which 320 people lost their lives. In Asansol, the rate of fatalities was higher as 301 persons were killed in 429 such incidents. Mumbai was at number four with 236 fatalities in only 318 such accidents.
The data show that after registering an increase in 2018 over the previous year, Delhi reported relatively less fatalities last year, though it continues to top the list of cities. Chennai, which had reported 428 such deaths in 2017 and only 62 fatalities in 2018, saw an increase last year with 136 lives lost on the roads.
“Delhi being a big city with more population and more number of vehicles, it tops among all cities when it comes to fatalities due to road crashes. But this can’t be an excuse considering the city has more number of traffic cops and has improved electronic surveillance. It’s a huge challenge for us and people also need to follow traffic rules for their safety,” said a city police official, who did not wish to be named.
For the past few years, dangerous and careless driving or overtaking has been the second biggest reason for road fatalities after speeding across the country. While crashes caused due to speeding claimed 86,241 lives, which was 55.7% of the all road fatalities in 2019, dangerous and careless driving claimed 42,577 lives in the country. The trend was similar in 2018 as well.
However, traffic experts maintain that the solution lies in scientific investigation of such cases rather than just going by the FIRs lodged by police. “We have been demanding the need for investigation into all such crashes as per the law. There can’t be a perfect prescription without diagnosing the problem,” said Rohit Baluja of Institute of Road Traffic Education.
2018: Unsafe parts of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai highways
50% Of Chennai, Mumbai Stretch Gets Unsafe Tag
Nearly 30% of the Delhi-Mumbai and almost half of the Mumbai-Chennai stretches of the Golden Quadrilateral are unsafe for car, bus and truck occupants, according to a firstof-its-kind safety study on national highways by agencies that included the World Bank and the National Highways Authority of India.
The study, which looked into the likelihood and severity of accidents, found that these NH stretches were even more unsafe for twowheelers, pedestrians and cyclists as there were hardly any facilities for these vulnerable road users.
The safety assessment and star ratings of the two NH corridors were conducted by Global Road Safety Facility of the World Bank, International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) and NHAI. The two corridors were rated on a scale of one to five stars, based on crash studies from around the world.
The report said only 40km in the two corridors running into 5,431km got the highest five-star safety rating for vehicle occupants. Another 245km got a four-star rating. The study gave three stars to about 55% of the two highway networks, which is “good” so far as safety of occupants is concerned.
The rest 39% of the two corridors together got a oneor two-star rating, which is considered unsafe for users.
According to iRAP, while it is possible to raise high-volume roads to a five-star rating in a cost-effective manner, it would be more realistic for the central and state governments to aim for a three-star rating all road users.
The report gains importance considering that NHs, which have only 2% share of the country’s road network, account for almost 36% of the total road deaths. In 2017, about 52,000 people lost their lives in accidents on the NHs while another 40,000 persons were killed on state highways.
According to the study, about 824km of the Delhi-Mumbai of GQ fell under the one- and two-star category for vehicle occupants when the speed limit is 80kmph. But when the speed limit is 100kmph, as much as 1,517km out of 2,795km, or 54% of the stretch, comes under the unsafe categories.
The road transport and highways ministry notified 100kmph as the maximum speed limit last April.
Expressways and national highways have become deadlier in recent years, with average annual deaths on every 100km of NHs increasing to 47 in 2019 as compared to 44 in 2018 and the number of people killed on expressways rising to 1,389 last year as compared to 1,253 during the previous year.
This is the second year when the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) came out with the average annual deaths on NHs and other categories of roads. According to the latest report, NHs accounted for 53,213 fatalities, which is 34.4% of nearly 1.5 lakh lives lost in road crashes in 2019. A year ago, NHs accounted for 50,771 out of nearly 1.5 lakh road deaths (around 33.2%).
So far as deaths due to accidents on expressways are concerned, the NCRB data show that Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra continue to top the list among all states. More than half of the nearly 1,400 fatalities in 2019 were reported from Uttar Pradesh (761), followed by Maharashtra with 167 deaths. Interestingly, while Gujarat had been reporting third highest number of deaths on expressways from 2016 to 2018, Haryana took the third spot last year.
NEW DELHI: Accidents on expressways in India claimed 1,253 lives during 2018, which was little over 5% more than the fatalities registered during in the previous year. While expressways in Uttar Pradesh registered maximum number road deaths at 764 in 2018 as compared to 629 in 2017, Maharashtra and Gujarat recorded sharp declines in such fatalities on high speed corridors.
According to the latest report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), maximum fatalities on expressways were reported in Uttar Pradesh contributing 61% deaths followed by Maharashtra (8.5%), Gujarat (7.5%), West Bengal (5%) and Jharkhand (4.4%) during 2018. Jharkhand and Odisha recorded steep decline in such fatalities.
Like the expressways in UP, such roads in West Bengal, Haryana and Assam saw more fatalities during 2018 as compared to 2017. Haryana, which added 135 km of Western Peripheral Expressway in 2018, saw 37 fatalities as compared to 25 in 2017. In Assam, 22 persons died in 2018 against only one fatality during the previous year.
Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Meghalaya registered 18, 34 and 14 deaths on expressways in 2018 while there was not a single fatality during 2017 in these states.
“The overall numbers have gone up as more and more expressway stretches are being made operational. But it’s also a challenge to ensure that such stretches become safe for commuters,” admitted a government official. Roads that are access-controlled are also treated as expressways. Such stretches have increased in the past couple of years.
Sources said the fatalities have reduced in Maharashtra because of the safety interventions by the state PWD on Mumbai-Pune expressway.
Nearly 29 people died daily in road accidents involving buses in 2017 with Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala topping the list.
Almost 86% of those killed were bus passengers themselves, according to government’s own data.
While this has been the trend for the past three years, the recent incidents of buses falling into the gorges in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra points to how despite the government claims to make hill roads safer through measures like installation of crash barriers, not much has been done on the ground so far.
Official data shows that a total of 10,651 people were killed in road accidents involving buses last year and out of this 9,069 were bus users. Tamil Nadu had reported maximum bus-related road deaths at 1,856 followed by Uttar Pradesh where 1,406 people lost their lives in similar accidents. Karnataka reported about 800 deaths in accidents involving buses.
Road safety experts said in any accident it’s easy to put the blame on the driver rather than getting to the root causes of fatal crashes. “The question is where to hit the nail and every agency responsible passes the blame to each other. In fact, several factors including drivers’ training, driving conditions, road geometrics, vehicle fitness, overcrowding and poor enforcement of rules contribute to accidents involving buses. So, you need to target each of these factors,” said transport planner Prof N Ranganathan.
Experts have been demanding mandatory scientific investigation of fatal accidents so that exact corrective measures can be taken rather than closing the cases by either blaming the driver or the road condition. They also pointed out that the issue of making roads safe should not stop at policy level rather it should be a daily affair with everyone doing their part efficiently including those who put road markings.
“For years we have been pushing this single point of investigating accidents scientifically. In any developed country, accidents like the recent ones would have forced any government to find out what went wrong. But here we have only condolences from our leaders and a few lakhs of compensation for each life lost,” said road safety expert Rohit Baluja.
Causes of accidents
Why Indian roads are unsafe: 5 factors
Why Indian roads are unsafe:
5 factors, and the 5 worst states for each factor
Presumably as in 2017.
2-wheelers and accidents, 2009-19
Deaths of two-wheeler riders in crashes have more than doubled in a decade between 2009 and 2019 with the share of such deaths going up from 20.7% of total road deaths to 38% during the period, according to NCRB data.
The trend is almost similar in case of car and jeep occupants, though the numbers are higher in case of two-wheeler occupants. The data show that as compared to 26,219 fatalities of two-wheeler occupants in 2009, the figure last year stood at 58,747. In case of car occupants, the number rose from 9,594 in 2009 to 22,637 in 2019.
A look at the classification of fatalities under ‘offender’ and ‘victim’ categories points to abysmally low level of discipline among riders. In 2015, out of 43,540 deaths, 16,289 were offenders and the rest 27,242 were victims. The share of offenders has increased over the past five years. In 2019, out of 58,747 fatalities, 27,654 were categorised as ‘offenders’ in police records and the rest 31,097 were ‘victims’.
Among South East Asian countries, including India, a high share of fatalities of twowheeler occupants has been a major cause of concern.
2013-16: 11,000 deaths
Pothole deaths, 2013-16, state-wise
State deaths due to potholes, state-wise and states deaths due to roads under repair or construction
2014: Deaths caused by potholes, speed breakers and humps on roads
2014: Deaths caused by potholes, speed breakers and humps on roads
The Times of India, Sep 14 2015
Over 11,000 killed by potholes, humps & speed breakers in 2014
4,000 died on roads under construction
Potholes and badly designed speed breakers don't just irritate drivers and damage vehicles. They actually kill. For the first time, the government recorded deaths caused by potholes, speed breakers and humps on roads. Last year, about 11,400 people died in such cases with Uttar Pradesh topping the list. Another 4,100 people were killed in crashes on stretches under repair or under construction. UP alone saw 4,455 lives being lost due to bad roads.
Other states with a high number of fatalities on these counts included Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal.
Maharashtra registered 368 deaths in crashes due to potholes, humps and speed breakers while another 224 died on roads under repair or under construction. According to the Road Accident Report (2014), while 4,726 lives were lost in crashes due to humps, 6,672 people died in accidents caused due to potholes and speed breakers. Sources said the actual figure could be much higher since the data was not properly captured by local police while registering accidents and in many cases these are recorded as any other crash.
UP had the largest share with 4,455 lives lost in such accidents. In MP , 915 people died in crashes caused due to bad road conditions and in Bihar, the fatalities stood at 867. In a first, the government's transport research wing has used data detailing about a dozen road conditions to classify crashes, fatalities and injuries.
While poor maintenance by road-owning agencies is the main reason behind potholes, experts said there was lack of uniformity and no standard design for speed breakers on most roads. Director of Indian Academy of Highway Engineers and former director general (roads) V L Patankar said most speed breakers on internal roads were “hugely dangerous“.“None follow design, curvature and location when constructing speed breakers. In most cases, locals put up speed breakers,“ he said.
The Times of India, Sep 06 2015
`Junctions with blinkers more prone to accidents than places with signals'
Road crashes at traffic junctions with blinker or flash lights are more fatal in comparison to similar incidences at other such intersections, including ones with no traffic signals. According to the Road Accident report on 2014, at least three persons are killed in every 10 crashes at crossings with blinkers and the number of persons injured was higher than the total number of accidents. The latest road accident report shows that though the total share of crashes at `uncontrolled' intersections is over 76%, the fatalities are less than 20%. Similarly at crossings having traffic signals and are controlled by police, the rate of fatalities is around 20%.
The trend was similar in 2013 when 4,740 persons died in 14,690 crashes at crossings with blinkers. These accidents had left 17,411 injured.According to Delhi traffic police officials, commuters hardly follow norms at crossings with blinkers, which are primarily meant for warning the drivers at a crossing to slow down and move cautiously .
The death of former rural development minister Gopinath Munde in a road crash at a crossing which was on blinker mode had prompted the Delhi traffic police to turn some of the major signals around Lutyens' Delhi into signal mode past midnight. Since May this year, they have also de ployed over 50 traffic police men from 9pm to 6am at these crossings.
Traffic safety experts said that unfortunately even road owning agencies don't follow norms while installing blink ers at crossings or merging points. In most cases, the traf fic lights are even found to be non-functional. “There is no specific data of how many permanent traffic lights are pu on blinker mode in cities and towns during the day . We have yet to go a long way to get ade quate data to find out the exact reasons behind crashes and fatalities,“ said one of them.
The report also flags the point that traffic junctions are the most accident-prone areas as about 57% of tota accidents took place at junc tions in 2014.
‘17% Because Of Drunk Driving, Bad Weather, Mechanical Defect’
Over 80% of fatalities in road accidents in India happened due to speeding and dangerous or careless driving, a comparative analysis of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data since 2014 shows. While this corroborates the popular perception of how people drive on the road in a country where getting a driving licence is often said to be too easy, experts said most of the fatal accidents are recorded by police under speeding and dangerous driving categories in the FIR as there are no other provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for such offences.
According to the latest NCRB report on accidental deaths, 83.2% of road fatalities were on account of these two types of violations and the rest 16.8% of fatalities were due to reasons including drunk driving, bad weather conditions and mechanical defect. In 2014, when such causes of fatal crashes were first compiled, 89.4% of the deaths were due to speeding and dangerous or careless driving as per the police records and this was the highest ever.
“We face a host of challenges ranging from poor system of issuing driving licences to almost zero scientific investigation of fatal crashes, which are provided in the law. Most of our national highways and state highways, which pass through villages, have no pedestrian crossings. On the top of this, in all fatal cases, police automatically registers them under section 279 (negligent driving) and 304A (negligent driving resulting death) of the IPC,” said road safety expert Rohit Baluja, who has been a regular guest faculty at Indian Police Academy, Hyderabad.
Confirming this, traffic adviser in Punjab government, Navdeep Asija said in case of all fatal accidents, the provisions of IPC are slapped. “In IPC, any crime or offence has to be lodged against a human being and hence there cannot be any charge against a road, vehicle or any other object. That’s why police data may not indicate the exact reason of crashes. But it is also a fact that violation of traffic rules is rampant on roads and only electronic surveillance can put a check on them,” he added.
Baluja said there is a need to define what is dangerous driving and the norms for fixing speed limits. “In Delhi, the speed limit is same across major roads, residential areas and markets during day time and at night as well. No authorities are held responsible for deficiencies on their part,” he pointed out.
Though the amended Motor Vehicle Act has included a provision to hold road owning agencies, contractors and consultants in case of fatal accidents due to faulty road construction or design, the government is yet to notify the process for this.
Bus accidents: 2015-17
June 21, 2019: 44 people die as a bus skids off the road in Kullu while navigating a sharp bend. There were no crash barriers at the site and the road was in a bad condition.
July 1, 2018: An overloaded private bus going from Pauri to Nainital in Uttarakhand falls into a gorge, killing 48. A few of the wounded later said the driver was trying to avoid a massive pothole on the road when he lost control of the vehicle.
January 19, 2017: A bus packed with little kids on their way to school in Etah hits a truck, leaving 18 schoolchildren dead. It takes days for some of the survivors to recover from the trauma and get back to class. Accidents on Indian roads that kill thousands of passengers have been occurring with alarming regularity. Sample these numbers: Over 11,000 people have died in bus accidents every year in the country, according to official data from 2015 to 2017. In 2017, UP alone recorded 1,406 such deaths while 1,684 perished in the state in accidents involving buses in 2018. Many of these occurred on the “super fast” Yamuna Expressway — Delhi’s seamless link to Agra — and the site of Monday’s deadly incident in which a UPSRTC bus cruising at about 100 kmph dived into a drain. In fact, the killer stretch has recorded 5,507 road accidents and 944 deaths since it opened to traffic in August 2012.
In most cases, it is easy to blame the driver. He is, after all, the one behind the wheel. But could the road itself be a problem? Or enforcement of rules? Yes, say experts. The primary focus of accident causation has been narrowing down on unsafe driver behaviour — speeding, fatigue and alcohol use. As a standard measure, police file an FIR against the driver, and the “investigation” often ends there. But the issue with this approach is that it doesn’t take into account several factors that contribute to crashes, road geometrics being one.
In 2018, the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), a non-profit, conducted a probe into a bus accident in Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) where 24 children had died and found that the driver was not the only one to blame. “He was guilty of wrongful driving but the road environment — which includes road engineering and signage — did not meet required standards for safe operation,” road safety expert Rohit Baluja, who headed the investigation, told TOI.
A probe by the state police into a bus accident that killed 60 in Kondagattu in Telengana in 2018 came up with similar findings. Krishna Prasad T, Telangana’s DGP in charge of road safety, said, “The primary reason was overloading. But we also found that the gradient of the road was too steep and there were chances that brakes wouldn’t work. There were poorly designed speedbreakers that could contribute to the driver losing control.” The engineering defects of this stretch have since been corrected, he said.
Baluja added that instead of focusing completely on driver behaviour, it is faulty roads that need to be repaired. “Take hilly roads, for example. There are too many sharp bends. Potholes and boulders cover half the road but are not removed in time. Traffic control devices such as signage are usually missing and there is absolutely no enforcement of speed. We don’t investigate crashes and fix responsibility.”
Prasanna Patwardhan, CMD of Purple Buses, which has a fleet of over 3,000, said, “I fail to understand why accident-prone spots have only warning signage year after year when the actual need is to fix them.”
Policy-makers remain tight-lipped on much needed reforms. Experts have been demanding mandatory scientific investigation of fatal accidents like those in Germany, UK and the US. While section 135 of the Motor Vehicles Act talks about the need to frame a mechanism for investigation of accident cases, most states have no such system in place. Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has admitted that causes of road accidents could range from faulty engineering of vehicles and roads to drunk driving and people obtaining driving licence without being properly trained. In 2018, the government had announced Rs 11,000 crore to fix black spots — places where most accidents occur — across the country.
But this is unlikely to be enough. India — a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration, it has pledged to cut road accidents and fatalities by half by 2020 — will need major reforms to achieve its target.
Fatigue management could be a good start. So is getting rid of incentives and market pressures that encourage drivers to get behind the wheel while exhausted. In some cases, drivers do with as little as four hours of sleep. The law doesn’t make it mandatory to have a reserve driver in buses.
Major (retired) Manish Singh, incharge coordinator of Yamuna Expressway, one of the deadliest stretches in India, said drivers dozing was a recurring factor. The driver involved in Monday’s accident is also suspected to have fallen asleep at the wheel. “In a previous accident case, we found that the actual driver was resting due to exhaustion while another person had been driving the bus — at full speed.” Lucknow UPSRTC regional manager P K Bose said that the corporation has taken measures to fight fatigue in drivers such as distributing thermos to them so that they could sip tea and stay alert. “We have also provided two drivers on buses operating on long routes,” he added.
(With inputs from Deepak Lavania)
2015: Potholes, bad roads, signals (physical factors)
Causes of road accidents and deaths by gender, 2015
2015: bad roads and potholes increase deaths
The Times of India, Aug 01 2016
Bad roads killed over 10k people in 2015; 3,416 deaths due to potholes
In 2015, 10,727 people were killed in crashes caused by potholes, speed breakers and roads under repair or being constructed.Though fatalities under these categories had come down marginally from 2014, the number of people killed due to potholes rose to 3,416, from 3,039 in the previous year. Deaths caused by potholes rose seven-fold in Maharashtra, according to the surface transport ministry's road accidents report. A rise in such fatalities indicates fai lure of road-owning agencies to maintain stretches.
UP, known for its bad roads, reported an almost 50% reduction in pothole deaths compared to 2014. In Delhi, where a biker died after getting stuck in a pothole on Saturday , there were only two pothole deaths in 2015. According to data compiled by the road trans port ministry, 10,876 accidents were reported last year due to potholes across the country. “The number could be higher as we don't have a scientific data collection mechanism. Many accidents go unreported and there is no detailed investigation into causes of road deaths,“ said Ashish Kumar, former chief of the transport research wing.
Top road engineers working with government departments said until the drainage system was improved, roads would keep de veloping potholes. “Every city and town has a multiplicity of authorities and in most cases, both the sewerage and storm water drainage system are inadequate and inefficient. Drains have been covered with unauthorised construction. Any amount of repair won't work if you have stagnant water and overloaded vehicles plying on such stretches,“ a state public works department official said.
To make road owning agencies and traffic police accountable for failure on their part, the road transport ministry has finalised the Rules of Road Regulation.
Number of people killed by potholes, state-wise, 2016
At least six people died daily of accidents caused by potholes across India last year. UP recorded a maximum of 714 such fatalities followed by Maharashtra (329) out of a total 2,424 deaths across all states, reports Dipak Dash.This toll across India was more than the number of people killed in all types of road accidents in the United Kingdom last year.
2016, Two-wheelers most vulnerable to potholes
In 2016, 54 people were involved in car accidents caused by the poor state of ro ads in the capital and five died Worse, 90% of the 378 fatal two wheeler accidents were determined by police to be due to uneven road surfaces, though officially there are no figures recorded specially for mortali ty due to decrepit roads.
Experts said that the five deaths related to dangerous road conditions -potholes speed breakers and poor ligh ting -compared well with the national average of 98 While there has been a steady decrease in fatalities the past three years in Delhi, the number of accidents hasn't diminished. So far this year bad roads have taken a toll of five lives, the same as in the whole of 2016.
Two of the car accidents reported in the past month hap pened on Ring Road. Records show that most deaths occur near residential colonies, on encroached stretches and near petrol pumps. Roads near construction sites were also fo und to be prone to accidents.
Studies done by the mini stry of road transport and highways and Delhi Traffic Police last year showed two wheelers riders were the most vulnerable to potholes. After the vehicles slipped, the riders fell on the roads and were hit by oncoming traffic. It was found that on the Ring Road, the stretch between Azadpur and Dhaula Kuan was the worst in terms of accidents due to bad road conditions.
Investigators from the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals pointed out that hasty , half-baked road restoration after completion of civic work caused the formation of most potholes.“When the road surface is unevenly paved, movement of heavy vehicles slows down. This leads to further erosion of road surface and results in the undulating, accident-causing surfaces,“ an officer explained.
Experts agreed. “Re-laying the surface of all the major arteries immediately after the rains should be an essential exercise,“ said K K Kapilam, chairman, International Road Federation. A police officer said that the cops send weekly reports on derelict spots to the civic authorities, but as Kapilam regretted, “The multiplicity of agencies involved worsens things. In any case, any amount of repairing won't help if roads retain stagnant water and overloaded vehicles ply on them.“
The cops claimed that whenever poor roads are determined to be the cause of fatalities, the role of engineers or road developers are probed and cases sometimes registered against them. However, proving accountability is difficult and most pothole cases are closed unresolved.
Number of people killed by potholes, state-wise, 2016-17
UP Records Most Crater Deaths At 987 '
Potholes took a deadly toll in 2017, claiming almost 10 lives daily with annual fatalities in the country adding up to 3,597 — a more than 50% rise over the toll for 2016.
Maharashtra recorded a doubling of deaths at 726 year on year — disheartening evidence that road safety remains a casualty in India. The magnitude of the problem can be understood from the fact that terrorist activities in India, Naxal attacks included, claimed 803 lives, including that of terrorists, security personnel and civilians, in 2017.
The ‘pothole deaths’ have stirred a debate on inefficiency of and corruption in municipal and road-owning authorities with the government launching campaigns to improve public awareness. But the craters remain a major hazard, with lack of road discipline and many twowheeler riders not using helmets aggravating the risks.
According to data shared by states with the Centre, Uttar Pradesh logged most such deaths at 987. Two other states that have fared poorly are Haryana and Gujarat. The former reported 522 deaths last year, while it had reported no such fatalities in 2016. Eight people died in Delhi due to pothole-related accidents in 2017 against none the previous year.
2016: principal causes
See graphic, 'The principal causes of —and categories of persons responsible for--accidents, fatalities'
2017: helmets/ seat belts off, cell-phones on
At least 98 twowheeler riders without helmets died daily in 2017 while another 79 car occupants lost their lives every day in accidents because they were not wearing seatbelts, according to a Road Accident Report. The use of mobile phones while driving also claimed about nine lives every day last year.
While the report, based on data provided by state police and transport departments and released on Monday, show a slight decrease in the total number of fatalities — from nearly 1.51 lakh in 2016 to about 1.48 lakh in 2017 —there has been a steep increase in the number of people dying because of failure to use safety gear or devices.
For example, fatalities caused by not wearing crash helmets rose to 36,000 in 2017 as compared to 10,135 the previous year. Tamil Nadu had the highest share of these fatalities at 5,211, followed by UP with 4,406 and Madhya Pradesh third with 3,183 lives lost.
About 42% of the dead (in the two-wheeler category) were pillion riders. Gujarat was the only state to report more pillion riders without helmets dying as compared to helmetless drivers of twowheelers getting killed.
In cases where not wearing seatbelts resulted in fatalities, Karnataka had the maximum — 4,035 dead — followed by Tamil Nadu with 3,497 and UP third with 2,897 deaths. UP had the highest number of fatalities — 1,512 — that occurred while vehicle drivers were using mobile phones while driving.
‘Nearly 67% of road deaths were due to speeding’
Maharashtra was second-worst in case of drivers using mobile phones, with 282 deaths; Orissa reported 257 deaths. Delhi reported only three fatalities in this category. Road safety experts said the jump in these figures is primarily because of increased focus on identifying the exact causes of road deaths in the past two years; 2017 was the second year that the government captured deaths caused due to traffic violations.
According to the report, nearly 67% of road deaths were due to speeding. The data also show that 22,428 persons were killed in hit-andrun cases across the country and that drunk driving claimed 4,776 lives last year. Failure to use safety devices, use of mobile phones, speeding and drunk driving have been identified by WHO as the main reasons for the rise in road deaths.
2017> 18: a decline in deaths due to potholes
A pothole in Maharashtra’s Thane district recently claimed the life of a 21-year-old woman doctor grabbing the headlines and bringing the spotlight back on the 2,640 lives claimed on average in pothole related accidents during the past three years.
However, if one were to go by details collected from states, there were about 2,000 pothole-related deaths in 2018 as compared to 3,597 the previous year, with a comparative analysis among the major contributing states showing a sharp decline except in the case of Uttar Pradesh. While in UP, there were 1,043 deaths as compared to 987 in 2017, in Maharashtra, these reduced to only 166 from 726 in 2017 and in Gujarat only one death was reported in 2018 as compared to 228 during the previous year.
The overall 44% decline has evoked scepticism if road owning agencies have truly “stepped up” their drive against potholes to bring down fatalities. The high number of pothole-related deaths in 2017 had become a major issue for the states after the Supreme Court had pulled them up for the negligence and said that compensation should be paid to the family of every such victim. The SC had taken suo motu cognisance of a TOI report and asked the SC Committee on Road Safety to work out a strategy.
Sources said during a stock taking meeting following the direction from the apex court, some of the top officials from states had claimed before the SC panel that the number of deaths attributed to potholed roads were overplayed and police, in their reports, had not recorded the actual reason. The steep fall in such deaths may now come as a relief for the state governments.
Meanwhile, experts are also not sure if those responsible in road owning agencies have been held responsible considering the fact that the Indian Penal Code (IPC) does not have a specific provision to book anyone for fault in road or vehicle resulting in deaths.
Nearly 30% of the total 1.5 lakh deaths in road accidents in 2019 were due to not wearing helmets and another 16% of fatalities were on account of not wearing seatbelts. The fatalities in road crashes caused due to use of mobile phones while driving increased by nearly 33% last year compared to 2018, according to data released by the road transport ministry.
The report on road accidents shows that out of the 56,136 two-wheeler riders who were killed last year, 44,666 were found riding without helmets. Uttar Pradesh topped the list of states in this category with 7,069 deaths, followed by Maharashtra (5,328) and Madhya Pradesh (3,813). Delhi also reported 178 such fatalities. In the case of seatbelt violations, a total of 20,885 persons (drivers and passengers) were killed in 2019, which was 14.5% less than 2018. While the number of drivers killed for not wearing seatbelt increased by 2.3%, the fatalities declined in the case of passengers by nearly 25%.
An analysis of the report also brings out that there is a maximum rise in deaths in percentage terms due to use of mobile phone while driving among all types of violations. Number of deaths in such crashes increased to 4,945 in 2019 with UP leading the list with 2,650 fatalities. However, speeding continues to be the biggest reason for fatal crashes. In 2019, such fatalities increased to 1.02 lakh compared to 97,588 in 2018.
No helmet? K’taka to suspend DL for 3 mths
The Karnataka transport department has decided to suspend driving licencesfor three months if a two-wheeler rider is caught without a helmet. The move comes in the backdrop of an increase in the number of bikers being booked for not wearing helmets. Karnataka has 1.6 crore registered two-wheelers. The number of riders booked without helmet was 16.4 lakh in 2018, 20.3 lakh in 2019 and 20.7 lakh till September this year. TNN
Helmet, seatbelt usage: the best and worst cities
Mumbai, Kochi Report 93% Compliance
Helmet violation was the maximum in Gujarat’s Rajkot where only three in every hundred two-wheeler riders were found wearing the headgear while in Mumbai and Kochi 93% were spotted wearing helmets, a recent study carried out in 32 cities across eight states found.
The findings, based on field surveys by IIT-Delhi, DIMTS and TERI as a part of an audit conducted for the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety, showed that Kota in Rajasthan topped the list of cities where the mandatory seatbelt wearing norm was breached. Only 14% of car occupants complied with the norm in Kota while Mumbai and Jaipur were the most compliant cities. Mumbai also had the best score of ‘zero’ per cent violation of the ‘no mobile phone while driving’ norm. Use of mobile phones while driving was much less compared to the other two types of traffic rule violations in all cities.
The states covered in the study were UP, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. Violation of the helmet and seatbelt norms was higher on national highways, state highways and major district roads across states. Haryana was the only exception, particularly in the case of helmet violation.
“The fear of not getting caught on such stretches could be the reason for people violating the law. When people cross the border of major cities, they often untie the seatbelt and remove helmet, “ said K K Kapila of the International Road Federation.
As per findings, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot in Gaujarat had high rate of helmet and seatbelt violations followed by three cities of Karnataka — Mysuru, Hubli and Kalaburagi. It was no better in Maharashtra where only Mumbai bucked the trend. All four cities surveyed in Kerala — Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi and Kozhikode — had a good record. All cities of Rajasthan covered in the audit had greater compliance of the seatbelt and helmet laws except for Kota, which fared badly. In UP, except Agra, the other cities — Lucknow, Kanpur and Ghaziabad — had higher compliance so far as helmet norm was concer ned.
Driving, parking on wrong side
2017, wrong-side driving
Rules Disregarded Mostly To Save Time & Fuel; Cops Now Want Power To Seize Licence
It is common enough to see cars in the city driving in a direction prohibited on that width of the road. Most streets in Delhi allow traffic to move in opposite directions on either side of the central divider. But often enough, the bunching up of traffic due to the traffic lights or a vehicle breaking down sends scores driving illegally on the wrong side of the divider. According to a traffic police study , almost 30% of road accidents are caused by this dangerous convenience of driving into oncoming traffic. Though the cops have already booked 1,53,891 drivers till date, they admit that it is a losing game. When TOI caught Suresh Kumar (name changed) a school van driver, driving on the wrong side on Mall Road near Delhi University with around 10 children in his Maruti Eeco recently , he pleaded that driving a few metres on the prohibited lane saved him fuel.
“There are no U-turns till Chhatra Marg and it is easier for me drive this way for a few metres,“ said Kumar, rather unapologetically .
Such expediency can prove fatal. In March, four people were severely injured when the BMW car they were travelling in rammed into four vehicles while driving on the wrong side near RK Puram. The driver explained that he was in a hurry to reach his destination and had lost control of the speeding car while trying to avoid autorickshaws parked by the roadside.
What aggravates the pro blem is the city's usual disregard for traffic rules and road etiquette. Drivers use every ruse in a me-first frenzy on the streets. Given this on-road belligerence, the traffic cops make only feeble attempts to impose discipline, like identifying 14 roads last year and deploying special teams to check motorists driving on the wrong side.
Police officers say that stretches with no central verge and ones pitted with holes or prone to traffic jams see the most cases of wrong-side driving. “The civic bodies and PWD must ensure that road dividers near the exits of colonies have adequate gaps to allow vehicles to cross,“ advised road expert KK Kapila. “Delhi Police must also start surveillance on marked stretches, including those near markets and malls, especially during weekends and peak school hours.“
Explaining why people look for easy ways out of congestions, Kapila pointed out, “It is said that six years of a city resident's life is spent in traffic snarls. Gridlocks cost seven million man hours and Rs 100 crore in productivity every year.“
Delhi Police has sought the permission of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety to seize licences for such violations. Currently , traffic police can recommend suspension or cancellation of licences to the transport department, which then sends a notice to the offender for the surrender of the licence.Mostly , however, the notices remained un-served. Even when asked to physically present themselves with the licence at a local transport office, violators often ignore the orders. A licence is considered valid so long as it is in the possession of the holder.
2018, 2019: Wrong-side driving was no.2
Wrong-side driving 2nd biggest cause of deaths on NHs: Report
Killed 9,200 In 2019, 25% Of Them On NHs
The menace of wrong-side driving on roads claimed 9,200 lives in 2019 with more than one-fourth of such fatalities (2,726) occurring on the National Highways (NHs), the second biggest reason for deaths on such high-speed roads. According to the “Road Accident in India 2019” report, a total of 8,764 lives were lost due to wrong-side driving on all Indian roads in 2018.
This is for the first time the Transport Research Wing under the road transport ministry has come out with the details of traffic violations and types of crashes on NHs, which have 2% share of the country’s total road network but account for nearly 36% road fatalities. In absolute numbers, 53,872 people lost their lives on NHs in 2019 and another 38,472 people were killed on state highways.
“Highways (both national and state), which accounted for about 5% of the total road network, witnessed a disproportionately large share of accidents of 55% and accident-related fatalities during 2019. More accidents on these have been attributed to higher vehicle speeds and increasingly higher volume of traffic on these roads,” the report said. The number of fatalities and crashes were more in the case of NHs which are under the National Highways Authority of India , which are mostly four-lanes or more. The NHs under state PWDs and other central government agencies are narrower.
The data show that speeding was the main reason for fatal crashes on NHs (36,566 deaths), followed by driving on the wrong side and driving under the influence of alcohol. A total of 2,376 persons were killed in drunk driving cases on NHs in 2019.
The high number of pedestrians getting killed (7,749) and nearly 18,000 twowheeler riders losing their lives on NHs has also pointed to how little thought has been given to segregate such road users. The report says 11,168 people below 18 years were killed in 2019, which was 31 deaths every day and 12% more than the previous year.
Items jutting out of vehicles
More than 23 persons die daily on Indian roads in accidents caused due to protruding rods and other such items, even four years after the government banned vehicles from carrying items that jut out from them. It shows how poor enforcement can defeat a change in law.
According to official road accidents data published till 2016, the number of fatalities in such incidents have come down between 2014 and 2016. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, which had a large share of such fatalities, have brought down casualities. But it has increased significantly in Uttar Pradesh. Data shows while in 2014, 1,629 deaths were reported in UP, in 2016 the tally rose to 2,917.
“There is hardly any enforcement of rules. During a hearing in the Supreme Court, the transport ministry had said they were hopeful of the amendments to Motor Vehicles Act getting passed by the Parliament, which will pave way for better enforcement. But now with little hope of the bill getting passed, we are considering to re-approach the court and request it to pass directions,” said Piyush Tiwari of SaveLife Foundation, which had taken up the case of protruding items to the SC.
Tiwari said their plea before the Supreme Court is also to make the vehicle owner and the consigner responsible for such offence.
Official data show that 2,317 juvenile drivers died in road crashes during 2018 underlining how traffic norms are brazenly flouted across the country owing to lax enforcement.
According to the 2018 Road Accident in India report by the transport ministry, Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 826 such fatalities followed by Madhya Pradesh where 210 persons in the below-18 age group lost their lives in accidents. Rajasthan reported deaths of 123 juvenile drivers in road crashes.
In Delhi, 14 such deaths were reported during last year. This is for the first time the states and Union Territories have given age-wise details of the drivers who lost their lives in road accidents.
“It is a shared responsibility of both the police and enforcement agencies and family members of the juvenile. We also need to bring a system with legal backing that everyone applying for a driving licence needs to get training from a recognised motor driving training school,” said Anil Chikara, a transport expert in the Delhi government.
“There is a strong view that police should not arrest or penalise parents or guardians, if an under-age driver is killed. We will be termed as insensitive to those who have lost their dear ones,” said a police officer from a southern city who did not wish to be named.
Considering how lethal juvenile driving could be, The recently amended Motor Vehicles Act has introduced provisions to hold guardians of offender juveniles responsible. The law says that in such cases the court shall presume that the use of the vehicle by the juvenile was with the consent of the guardian or the vehicle owner.
In such cases, guardians or owners shall be punishable with up to three years jail and a fine of Rs 25,000.
Speeding big factor in Yamuna e-way crashes
At least 4,956 road accidents took place on the Yamuna expressway ever since its inauguration on August 16,2012, an RTI reply has revealed. The reply by YEIDA also said that PWD engineers had identified three black spots on the expressway as the most accident prone, including two in Greater Noida and one in Mathura this year. Last year, 30 spots were marked as dark spots.
The data sought by RTI activist K C Jain revealed that 1,161accidents were caused by speeding, 595 by tyre burst, 235 by fog and 2,965 by other factors, including drivers falling asleep and vehicles being hit by others. According to YEIDA, these accidents took lives of 718 people and injured 7,671. The highest number of casualties was recorded last year with 146 deaths in 763 accidents. According to the data, 3,04,713 speeding vehicles were caught on camera from Jan 1 to March 31 this year, while 2.33 crore vehicles were caught speeding on the expressway in over five years.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official of Jaypee Infratech, concessionaire of the e-way, said, “We have installed impact attenuators and bull nose barriers on the expressway to reduce the impact of accident. Special attention is being given on the entry and exit points of the e-way.”
“Currently, there are over 200 bull nose barriers on the expressway, which are filled with water so as to reduce the impact of the vehicles’ collision,” he added.
“We have 30 speed cameras, 25 detection cameras and 19 CCTV cameras, which help us to keep a tab on the e-way and make quick response in case of emergency. Our five ambulances are always on standby at the three toll plazas and there are 17 patrolling vehicles, including six which are operated by local police to provide ground assistance,” he said. In February, the expressway had started providing live CCTV feed of traffic movement to local PCRs of Agra, Mathura and Gautam Budh Nagar to control rash driving. Meanwhile, the data sought by Jain revealed that PWD engineers marked the e-way stretch in front of J P Sports City as a black spot, along with milestone 15 of GB Nagar and the stretch between milestone 61-62 in Mathura district.
However it’s important to note that in 2017, another RTI reply by YEIDA revealed that there were 30 blackspots on the e-way. Jain said, “Sometime back, the PWD was given a task to identify the black spots on the state highways and other roads, but what surprises us, that within just a year, YEIDA now claims that there are only three blackspots the on e-way instead of 30.”
Speeding behind every third accident in UP/ 2017
Speeding tops the list of reasons behind road accidents in Uttar Pradesh, according to an assessment of data of the ministry of road transport and highways. The data also reveals that one in three road accidents in the state happens because the speed limit is breached.
In 2017 alone, in 14,276 out of 38,783 crashes that took place in UP, drivers violated speed norms. Driving on the wrong side accounted for 12% of accidents on highways. Drunk driving was the culprit in another 8% accidents. And, use of mobile phones while driving led to loss of vehicular control, leading to accidents in yet another 8% cases.
The report also noted that the percentage share of UP in total road accidents across India is the fourth highest at 8.3%. Also, UP ranks first in terms of the number of road casualties at 13.6%.
2018: Speeding led to 66% of road accidents
Speeding was responsible for over 66% of road accidents in 2018 and over 5% were caused by drunk driving, according to the provisional accident data shared by Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday. He told the Rajya Sabha the number of lives lost in accident on national highways (NHs) during last year was 54,046 as compared to 53,181in 2017.
Gadkari also admitted that there were multiple reasons behind the rising number of road fatalities, including the traffic rule violations by vehicle users and road engineering defects, just hours before he moved the Motor Vehicle Amendments in the Lok Sabha seeking support of all members to pass it. Sources said that the total road deaths in 2018 is estimated to be close to 1.5 lakh.
“I have been very frank in accepting that I could not deliver to reduce the road fatalities in past five years. People have no fear or respect for the law. Our main focus is to reduce road deaths and bring reforms in the transport sector to make it more transparent. We want to bring IT-based testing system for granting driving licences and fitness certificate for vehicles,” Gadkari said.
Several organisations have been campaigning for the passage of the bill claiming that the new law will put some checks on the blood-letting on Indian roads which see 400 perish every day.
A report by Asian Development Bank in 2012 had for the first time revealed the socio-economic impact of road accidents in Asia Pacific Region including India. It had found that seven out of 10 victims’ families suffer decreased income, two-thirds of victims’ families take loans to cover income loss and many victims’ families are driven into poverty or debt.
‘Most speeding accidents take place in shoulder lanes’
Spine surgeon Ketan Khurjekar became the 18th victim in 2019 of speeding vehicles ramming stationary ones in the shoulder lane of Pune-Mumbai Expressway.
Of the 24 accidental deaths on the expressway this year, as many as 18 people lost lives because of speeding vehicles veering off to the shoulder lane. Last year was no different.
According to the Highway Safety Patrol (HSP), of the 56 persons who died in 2018 in accidents on the expressway between Amrutanjan bridge and Kiwale exit, as many as 46 lost lives in the shoulder lane.
Superintendent of police, HSP, Milind Mohite, told TOI, “About 80% of the accidents have occurred in the shoulder lanes of Mumbai and Pune corridors of the expressway duringthe night hours.”
The shoulder lane is an emergency stopping lane on the left side of a road in India. But many motorists drive in the shoulder lane to overtake trucks or buses travelling in the middle or the left lane of the expressway.
Absence of driving license
2012-14: Accidents by no license holders rose by 54%
The Times of India Dec 21 2015
Accidents caused by drivers without licences increased by 54% between 2012 and 2014, according to data provided by the police departments of all states and Union Territories. In abso ute numbers, the accident count went up from 25,463 to 39,314. In the same period, drivers younger than 18 caused between 19,000 and 21,500 accidents.
Though the official count s evidently much less than actual numbers, it reflects the ree run such drivers seem to enjoy and the need to bring them to book. Transport ministry officials said local police hardly ever book such offenders or the owners of vehicles as they treat these as petty offences.
Global studies suggest drivers in the age group of 1619 are four times more likely to cause accidents compared to older drivers. Teenagers are also more likely to speed, jump traffic lights, take wrong turns and drive after consuming alcohol or drugs.Usually, no one favours taking action against young boys and girls, including their parents, transport ministry officials added.
“The actual number of vio ations, including under-age driving and without licence, is much higher as there is hardly any detection of such drivers in rural areas and small towns. We don't get proper data that can help us plan better and map the gaps. What we al so need is to educate parents and schoolgoing children,“ K K Kapila, chief of International Road Federation, said.
Interestingly, details sub mitted by the road transport ministry to Parliament last week said Delhi traffic police did not provide details on either count.
Absence of helmets, seat belts
Chandigarh, Delhi dilute helmet rule for Sikh women
Chandigarh will be the second city after Delhi where Sikh women will be exempt wearing helmets. While the Union home ministry said it asked the Chandigarh administration to amend rules following “representations” from Sikh bodies, road safety experts have slammed the decision and raised questions of how Sikh women can be identified riding a bike and if they don’t face risk of accident.
According to official data of Chandigarh traffic police, 43 women two-wheeler occupants died since 2013 and most of them had head injuries in the capital of Haryana and Punjab. In July this year, the city administration had issued a notification making it mandatory for all two-wheeler riders to wear helmet or protecting gear. Sources said the issue relating to the mandatory use of helmet is also pending in the Chandigarh high court.
An official release from the Union home ministry said it has advised the Chandigarh administration to follow the notification issued by Delhi government giving an exemption to Sikh women from wearing helmets while driving two wheelers.
On August 28, the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules was amended to substitute the word “women” with “Sikh women” to give them the option to wear helmet or not.
“There is a need for uniform application of helmet law across the country where no government is allowed to interfere with the law,” road safety expert Rohit Baluja said.
Harpeet Singh, president of Avoid Accident, a nonprofit organisation, said, “No enforcement agency can put a check on this exemption unless the top Sikh religious bodies get convinced that the religion is known to save lives. How can it allow its own daughters to die on roads?”
He added the exemption could be for the women who wear “keski”, the traditional turban for Sikh women.
2016: not wearing helmets, seat belts
About 28 two-wheeler riders died daily on Indian roads in 2016 for not wearing helmets and another 15 for not fastening their seatbelts, according to an analysis of data shared by states with the transport ministry.
The year was the deadliest with 31 people dying in every 100 road accidents. It has steadily increased from 21.6 deaths per 100 accidents in 2005 to 29.1 in 2015.
This is for the first time that police and transport departments in states have captured data on deaths caused due to riders not wearing helmet. States have reported that one of every five bike occupants who died in such crashes was not wearing a helmet and their total number was 10,135. Uttar Pradesh accounted for most such fatalities (3,818), followed by Tamil Nadu (1,946) and Maharashtra (1,113). A study by the United Nations last year had estimated that wearing a helmet improved chances of survival of bikers by 42%. Moreover, 5,638 people died for not wearing seatbelts in cars in 2016, with UP accounting for the most casualties (2,741).
Experts said the number of deaths due to not wearing of helmets and seatbelts could be more as the available data might not have captured the details in entirety.
According to the data, the total number of road deaths was nearly 1.51lakh in 2016 as compared to 1.46 lakh in 2015.About 68% of the total number of people killed were in the age group of 18-45 years, which is the most productive age. Last year, transport minister Nitin Gadkari had termed the situation as “an emergency“.
Two-wheelers remained the most unsafe mode of transport, not just for the riders but also posed maximum danger to others on the road. Crashes due to twowheelers resulted in 44,000 deaths while 52,500 riders died in road accidents, which is nearly 35% of the total road deaths in 2016. “Safe ty of two-wheeler occupants is a big issue not just in India but for the entire south-east Asian region where their share is the highest among all types of vehicles. But very little has been done for safety of occupants. Western solution won't help us in making our roads safer.There has to be specific policy intervention to meet our requirements,“ said road safety expert Rohit Baluja.
The transport ministry has taken some initiatives, including mandatory installation of anti-lock braking system in two-wheelers, which prevents the wheels from locking up during braking. Indian roads were equally unsafe for pedestrians. In comparison to 13,894 pedestrians killed in 2015, 15,796 pedestrians were crushed to death last year.Speeding and overtaking remained the biggest cause of road crashes.
The number of people killed in hit-and-run cases also increased from 20,709 in 2015 to 22,962 last year. “Huge number of productive youths dying in road accidents should trigger immediate improvement of laws and enforcement of traffic rules,“ said K K Kapila of International Road Federation.
2017, 2018: UP tops list
Close to 43,600 two-wheeler riders without helmets died in road accidents in 2018, which was 21% higher than the previous year (35,975). The share of pillion riders without helmets who were killed stood at about 15,360 in the same period.
The figures provided by state governments come as a reminder of the critical role played by helmets in saving lives amid reports that Gujarat and Jharkhand have announced exemption to pillion riders from adhering to the rule of wearing the safety gear.
TOI has learned that while 958 two-wheeler drivers without helmets were killed in Gujarat last year, the number of helmet-less pillion riders killed was 560. Similarly in Jharkhand, the number of such drivers and pillion riders killed stood at 790 and 450, respectively. Last week, both states had made it official that police will not challan or prosecute pillion riders if they are caught without helmets. It’s learnt that UP reported the maximum number of helmetless two-wheelers dying in 2018 (6,020) followed by Maharashtra (5,232).
In ’18, flouting of seatbelt law led to 24,400 deaths
Tamil Nadu reported 5,048 deaths of two-wheeler riders driving without helmets. The recently notified amended Motor Vehicles Act makes it mandatory for all twowheeler riders to wear helmet except Sikhs. Though there is a provision to make helmets mandatory for children above four years, the government will notify this provision later considering that there are not enough numbers of helmets available to meet requirement.
So far, deaths caused due to non-wearing of seatbelt is concerned, nearly 24,400 such drivers and car occupants died in 2018 as compared to 28,900 during the previous year. It’s mandatory for all vehicle occupants to wear seatbelts under the Motor Vehicles Act. Non-compliance of the provision can attract fines up to Rs 1,000.
Sources said the number of passengers killed because of not wearing seatbelts was higher at 15,100 last year as compared to 9,350 drivers.
Cell-/ mobile- phones
The Times of India, Aug 07 2016
Most drivers in dark about SC rule on phone use
More than threefourth of the drivers who were issued challans for talking over phone while driving were unaware of the Supreme Court ruling against it and the rest hoped they would escape the cops eye.
Seizing licences hardly acts as a deterrent for drivers who frequently abuse the ru le, the police said. According to a traffic police study , most people use headsets or call facilities in cars, which makes it difficult to catch defaulters.In the past one week, cops have seized 41 licences from around Connaught Place alone.
Talking while driving leads to most accidents on roads. Thursday's incident where Chhawla, a woman who lost control while driving, is one such case that happens on road almost every other day , the police said.
The police have planned to approach schools and colle ges in the next few weeks to sensitise teachers and students about the hazards of driving while using a mobile phone.
Since December 2015, the traffic police have issued challans to 3,899 drivers and have seized their licences. South Delhi reported maximum violations. Areas around Josip Tito Marg, Mathura Road and South Extension saw most violations. The police have seized 900 licences from areas around ITO crossing and Delhi Gate during the same period.
Sources said the use of echallan machines have made the job a little easier for the men on duty . These machines automatically issue a note for cancellation of licence when the nature of offence is punched in.
Earlier a penalty of Rs 1,000 was imposed under Section 184 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988, besides under Rule 17 (i & ii) of Rules of Road Regulations 1989, punishable under Section 177 MV Act 1988, since the offence is an act of dangerous driving. In extreme cases, Section 279 IPC (rash and negligent act) is imposed leading to arrest and seizure of vehicles, the police said.
A Supreme Court committee on road safety has recommended jail terms for reckless driving or Driving under the influence( DUI).
2016: Mobile use while on wheel killed 2,100
The use of mobile phones while driving claimed 2,138 lives last year while faulty speed-breakers, potholes and underconstruction roads accounted for 26 deaths on the roads every day , according to data released by the transport ministry . The maximum deaths due to use of mobile phones while driving were reported from UP, followed by Haryana. Delhi reported two deaths while Maharashtra registered 170 fatalities on this account.
This was the first time that the road transport ministry collected such data from each state. According to the report, 17 people died every hour in road accidents, which TOI had first reported on April 24. Officials ad mitted there is under-reporting of accidents caused due to use of mobile phones by drivers and also by pedestrians. “People using mobile phone and taking selfies while driving are increasingly posing a greater risk to themselves and others as well,“ road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said. According to the World Health Organisation, those using mobile phone while driving face four times higher risk of crash.
Delhi police special commissioner (traffic) Ajay Kashyap told TOI, “Texting or taking selfies while driving or walking on the road is a big traffic risk.People are addicted to them.There is under-reporting of such offences as it's difficult to specify the cause.“
A survey by SaveLife Foundation earlier this year had found that nine out of 10 drivers felt using mobile phones while driving was unsafe but 47% admitted to having received calls while behind the wheel.
The report also mentions how 3,396 people died in accidents caused due to faulty speed-breakers, another 2,324 lost lives due to pothole-related accidents while 3,878 people died in accidents near or on roads under construction.
“Ill-designed speed breakers have become a menace and more people are left injured for no fault of theirs. These are illegal.We will soon come out with a new design of speedbreakers,“ Gadkari said.
UP accounted for the most number of deaths in all three accounts. Maharashtra had the second highest number of potholerelated deaths (329) while Haryana had the second highest fatalities (214) due to faulty speed-breakers.
Overloading in the hills
U’khand Deaths: Social Media Erupts Over Potholed Roads
The bus accident in Pauri district has put the spotlight on the menace of overloading of passenger vehicles in the hills. The private bus which fell into the gorge was a 28-seater but was carrying 60 passengers, which was more than twice its capacity. Acknowledging that overloading was a ‘curse’ in the hills, transport minister Yashpal Arya said that an inquiry would be conducted to find out how the bus involved in Sunday’s accident was allowed to ply with 60 passengers.
Transport minister Arya said, “The transport department and police are at fault for failing to curb this practice. We will hold a detailed inquiry into the incident and take steps to curb overloading.”
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also admitted that overloading of vehicles is a grim reality in the hills in the absence of checks.
In April 2017, 44 people had died after a private bus fell into a river on Uttarakhand-Himachal Pradesh border. Officials had found overloading to be one of the causes of the accident. Ashok Kumar, additional director general of police said that it was challenging to crack down on the practice as police could only challan an overloaded vehicle. “The right to seize a vehicle lies with the transport department,” he said. Overloading is also rampant in the hills due to a weak network of public transport system to connect far-flung areas of Uttarakhand.
“The remote areas are connected by private buses run by Garhwal Motor Operators’ Union (GMOU). They operate buses on link and branch roads used by local villagers. Due to lack of frequent bus service, people and bus operators resort to overloading,” said a transport department official.
Transport officials said that the number of buses running in the hills were “sufficient” but admitted that they do not cater to interior parts of the villages.
2014: 'Overtaking’ is the leading cause
The Times of India, Sep 05 2015
Overtaking led to max crashes in 2014
Better be alert every time you try to overtake or any other driver is speeding past your vehicle on the roads. Numbers show that maximum crashes and deaths on roads took place in 2014 when drivers were overtaking and the second highest cases of fatalities happened while “diverging“ or when jumping lanes. According to the latest report on country's road accidents and deaths, over 48,000 people died in crashes caused due to overtaking and `diverging' during 2014. “These accidents are also directly linked to speeding. There are two ways to address this concern. Either drivers must be sensitized or there has to be strict enforcement of traffic laws. Unfortunately, our drivers have no sense of how to change lanes, which is also main reason for such accidents,“ said an official of the transport research wing, which has prepared the report after compiling data from the local police from across the country .
The report also points to how most of the drivers with valid licenses have little training or knowledge of how to drive safely . It mentions how drivers with valid licenses were involved in crashes killing about 40,500 persons.
A recent analysis of people having driving licenses had revealed how 13% of such licenses are either fake or duplicate in India.
The report by National Informatics Centre (NIC) had found around 74 lakh licenses out of the total six crore may be duplicate ones, indicating the systemic flaws when doling out such licences.
Overtaking: 30,000 deaths in 2015
The Times of India, June 7, 2016
Rash overtaking led to 30,000 deaths in 2015
It is better to be alert when overtaking or letting any other vehicle overtake you on the road. Numbers show how dangerous and risky overtaking is on Indian roads. Last year, over 30,000 lives were lost in road crashes caused due to overtaking, says a road traffic accident report by the transport ministry . It also shows how diverging and merging resulted in nearly 32,000 fatalities on roads while stationary and other parked vehicles were involved in nearly 26,000 crashes that claimed 7,280 lives in 2015.
“Overtaking is a menace across all roads because neither the road users nor the enforcement agencies are aware of the right of way . The rules clearly say that you can't overtake at crossings, junctions, bend or wherever you can't see the traffic clearly,“ said road safety expert Rohit Baluja.
In fact, two-lane roads without dividers are more dangerous so far overtaking is concerned. What makes it worse is either no or little enforcement. “The danger is more on hilly areas and vehicles from outside these states violate the law. There is none to enforce.So, all these make the roads more unsafe,“ Baluja added.
Experts said poor traffic engineering is responsible for increasing cases of crashes and fatalities due to diverging and merging traffic. They said every road should be audited and the necessary changes must be made to make them safer. “We also have high number of deaths caused due to stationary vehicles on road. It simply points to how there is hardly any enforcement and patrolling to prevent such crashes. State police have no adequate force to patrol the highways and the highway managers don't wake up until a few lives are lost,“ said S P Singh of IFTRT, a think tank on transport issues.
Speed alone is not rashness
The Times of India, May 11 2016
Speeding alone no ground to book person for rash, negligent driving: HC
Shibu Thomas Driving a car at high speeds is by itself not a strong enough ground to book a person for rash and negligent driving, the Bombay high court has ruled. Two years after Mumbai police arrested a city resident, Khizzer Shah, on the charges of negligent and dangerous driving, a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Prakash Naik used the HC's special powers to strike down the FIR as an “abuse of the process of law“.
“Except a bald statement that the accused was driving negligently , there is no evidence to substantiate the charge,“ said the bench.“The fact that a vehicle is driven at speed, or the fact that a vehicle is not driven at speed, cannot, by itself, without judging the situation in which the driver had been placed, be a factor to determine rashness or negligen ce. High speed may not, in each case, be sufficient to hold that the driver is rash or negligent,“ the bench added.
The HC criticised the police for the “casual“ manner in which they initiated criminal proceedings against Khizzer. “The police have mechanically exercised the power of registration of the FIR against Khizzer in the most casual and cavalier manner. The registration of FIR has caused undue harassment to him.“
The case dates back to the night of March 24, 2014, when Khizzer was driving a car near Shiva ji Park. The police, who were conducting a nakabandi, arrested Khizzer for the offences of rash and negligent driving (Section 279 of IPC) and dangerous driving (Section 184) under the Motor Vehicles Act.If convicted, both charges invite a prison term of up to six months or a fine or both.Khizzer approached the HC against the police action.
Advocate Farhana Shah, counsel for Khizzer, said neither the FIR, nor the chargesheet, filed by the police had any material to book him. The HC agreed and pointed out that two key questions had to be satisfied for invoking the charges -that the person was driving in a manner that may have caused danger to human life or was likely to cause injury to any other person.
2014: Rash driving and road rage
The Times of India, Aug 20 2015
Kochi, T'puram top rash driving & road rage cases
Two major cities in Kerala Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram -have reported maximum number of “rash driving road rage“ cases leaving 22,300 injured while Chennai and Delhi have registered third and fourth highest number of such cases. The compilation data based on cases registered by state police departments in the 53 major cities show that a total of 96,648 such cases were reported across the country and at least 99,822 people were left injured.This is almost one fifth of the total injury reported in 2014 involving road crash cases.
Among these cities, the rate of such rash driving and road rage cases per one lakh population is also highest with 634 recorded in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram recording 522 cases per lakh population.The national average was little over 60.
Sources said the main reasons behind high rate of rash driving and road rage cases in Kerala include high volume of vehicles and less road space with little expansion of highways happening in the recent years. They added these two are also the main commercial cities and Kochi has emerged as a cosmopolitan city .
Interestingly , even Indore in Madhya Pradesh recorded over 4,100 such incidences which left equal number of people injured in the crashes.
According to the NCRB report, at all India level a total of 4.09 lakh rash driving and road rage cases were reported and at least 4.79 lakh people were left injured. Kerala registered high number of these cases at 1.09 lakh, Lakshadweep reported only one such incident.
Rash driving causes 90% of deaths/ 2016
More than 90% of road deaths in 2016 were attributed to rash and negligent driving with the latest national crime research bureau statistics revealing 1.5 lakh deaths in 1.35 lakh road accidents due to delinquent driving.
The crime data released by the bureau covers all crimes booked under Indian Panel Code. The NCRB is yet to release its data on all accidents and suicides that were reported during 2016, which includes those where FIRs are filed.
While the NCRB covers all IPC data, as of now only the road transport ministry has records of all road accidents in 2016. As per this report, 1.51 lakh people died in road accidents and a driver’s fault was responsible for 80.3% of these fatalities. Some road safety experts have raised questions on such details and argued that there might be lack of proper investigation in many road accident deaths.
The NCRB report is not surprising considering the agency has been following the same parameters for several years. For example, in 2015 out of a total 1.49 lakh people dying in road accidents, 1.34 lakh were due to rash and negligent driving. This works out to be 90.3%.
It has sometimes been argued that road accident deaths are entered under negligent and rash driving in FIRs as piecing together accidents is not always easy. “There is no clause in IPC to put a road accident caused due to pothole or bad engineering. In most of the cases, police reach the spot after accidents have happened and hence they mainly depend on eyewitness accounts. Usually, these eyewitnesses say the vehicle was moving fast,” said a senior police officer. This may lead to an inflation of accidents where negligent driving is the cause, but this remains the chief cause of deaths on the roads.
Since victims of road accidents are mainly compensated from the accumulated third-party insurance premium collected from vehicles, most of the cases are registered under rash and negligent driving head, he added.
“Across the world countries that have brought down road deaths have first done work to get the right data, find the exact reasons. Unless we do this ground work, we won’t be able to treat the disease,” said road safety expert Rohit Baluja.
Drivers with imperfect vision: Delhi
The Times of India, Sep 12, 2017
CRRI Study Covered 627 Drivers, Found 42% Colour Blind
At least three in every 10 drivers in Delhi were found to have poor far sight acuity (how well one can see detail) while half of the drivers surveyed had poor near visual acuity , according to a study done by Delhi-based Central Road Research Institute (CRRI).
The study conducted covering 627 private cars, taxi, truck and bus drivers also found that 19% of them were severely colour blind while another 23% had mild colour blindness. About 29% of the drivers surveyed have also admitted to be behind the wheels for more than 10 hours a day , which is against the law. Visual acuity (sharpness) refers to how well a driver can see and a measure for the the eye's ability to see details at near and far distances.Colour blindness is the inability to perceive differences between some or all colours that other people can easily distinguish. Both have a higher adverse impact on driving during the night when visibility is redu ced substantially.
CRRI has done the study for Vision Impact Institute in which 72% of the drivers of commercial vehicle and the rest driving private vehicles underwent vision tests. Similar studies will be carried out in Mumbai and Bangalore.While driving, 90% information are taken from visual inputs about the road itself, other vehicles, pedestrians, signs and the passing scenery . The study has great significance considering the fact that the Motor Vehicle Act says that a self-declaration and medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner in case of a non-transport and transport vehicle respectively , is sufficient for issuance of learner's licence in India. “If not declared with truthfulness, this could pose serious safety hazards due to presence of drivers with certain physical abnormalities in traffic and which may hinder the driver from safe driving,“ the report said.
Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari has often talked about how applicants simply buy medical certificates from doctors to get a licence. He has even advised government officials and executives to get the vision of their drivers tested.
This study found that 6% of the drivers having marginal or unacceptable near visual acuity of both eyes were involved in accidents as against 3% of the drivers with acceptable grade in visual acuity . “Similarly for far both eye visual acuity , this study found that 8% of drivers with marginal or unacceptable range of acuity were involved in accidents as against 3% of the drivers with acceptable grade in visual acuity ,“ the report said. According to the study, 15% drivers who committed traffic violations admitted that they were involved in some accident or other as against 1% of those drivers who did not violate the traffic rules.
There is a separate section on the Legal aspects of Drunk driving
2010-12: Drunk driving accidents reduced
The continuous decline in accidents caused due to intake of alcohol/drugs in the past three years has come as a breather for the government. While in 2010 such violation caused 31,000 accidents, the number of such mishaps reduced to 23,979 last year. Even the fatalities have fallen from 9,976 in 2010 to 7,835 in 2012. Uttar Pradesh reported maximum fall in fatalities in this category from 4,635 in 2011 to 2,400 last year. TNN
2015: different figures from NCRB, transport ministry
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 441 people were killed in road crashes due to drunken driving in 2015 in Uttar Pradesh, while data compiled by the transport research wing (TRW) of road transport ministry puts the fatalities for same reason during the year at three times more, at 1,404.
Such sharp differences in data, by two different agencies of the central government, on road deaths caused due to drunken driving lead to skepticism regarding sanctity of official figures. Both reports are based on the same source, which is FIRs lodged by police across states.
Officials TOI spoke to attribute such huge discrepancies to different channels through which the two agencies collect data. "While NCRB gets the data from state crime records bureaus (SCRB) and CID, TRW gets data from SCRB and state police headquarters," said an official.
In its bid to end such confusion, the road transport ministry is holding a workshop this week where representatives from state police will be briefed about a new and uniform format of supplying information to both the agencies. "We hope this will address the major problem," said the official.
The officials also admitted that there is no sanctity to the data and details that police feed to the system since there is no detailed investigation in cases of road crashes.
This is evident from the fact that as per TRW data not a single person died in Goa and NCRB said only one person was killed due to drunken driving in 2015.
Road safety expert Rohit Baluja said while states such as Goa, Punjab, Delhi and Chandigarh have high concentration of liquor shops and pubs, data shows very few crashes happened due to drunk driving. "On account of lack of scientific road crash investigation in India, the factual causes contributing to road crashes are not known and so we end up treating symptoms rather than the disease," Baluja said.
Baluja said strict and regular enforcement will lead to reduction of drunken driving, and scientific investigation in all serious crashes of injuries of both the drivers and victims would help identify the right solution.
Police officers said though prevalence of crashes due to drunken driving is high, official records never show them. "We don't have enough breath-analysers and most cases are never registered. If it's recorded that a victim has died in a drunken state then he does not get any insurance compensation. So, there are several factors behind why exact reasons are not mentioned in the FIR," said a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named.
2015> 2016: Drink driving deaths decline in Haryana, Bihar
UP 2016 Toll Up 100% Over 2015
Prohibition seems to have helped Bihar rein in deaths caused by drunk driving, with the number of such fatalities dropping 60% between 2015 and 2016. The liquor ban came into force in the state in 2016.
Meanwhile, the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving almost doubled in Uttar Pradesh in the same span -from 1,404 in 2015 to 2,716 in 2016 -according to the government's latest report on road accidents.
Bihar is one of three states that saw fewer deaths, injuries and accidents caused by drunk driving in 2016 than the year before, the others being Jharkhand and Haryana. However, West Bengal, Punjab, Puducherry and Odisha are among the states and Union territories where the number of deaths in drunk-driving-related accidents have gone up. Delhi registered a five-fold increase in such fatalities -while six persons died in drunk-driving-related cases in 2015, 30 were killed last year.
After TOI first reported on April 21 the lower drunk driving-related road fatalities in Bihar, the state government had cited the drop as one of the achievements of its complete ban on liquor.
At 541, Bihar reported the maximum decline in drunk-driving-related road deaths, in absolute figures, between 2015 and 2016, among the eight states and Union Territories where the number of deaths fell.By percentage, the decline was sharpest in Haryana.
Though 624 fewer road deaths across the country in 2016 on account of drunk driving is taken as a positive indicator, law enforcement authorities and traffic safety experts admit that official data shows a much lower number than is the reality.
“It's no more a secret in most of the cases that the dead person is hardly shown as being under the influence of alcohol even when it's so. This is because the dead are always treated as victims, and to ensure that their family members get compensation from insurance companies or from government,“ said a senior police official, who was the in-charge of traffic in a metro city.
Harman Singh Sidhu, who had filed a PIL for ban on liquor vends along national highways, said, “Bihar's alcohol ban really had an impact. Even the sharp decline in deaths in Haryana... could be because the liquor shops along NHs in the state were almost closed during 2016.“
According to WHO reports, drinking and driving is one of the main causes of road crashes. While in highincome countries, about 20% of fatally injured drivers have excess alcohol in their blood, in some low and middle-income countries the figure may be up to 69%.
The extent and nature of the problem
1970-2017: number of accidents
See graphic :
1970-2017: the number of road accidents in India
The state-wise position, presumably as in 2017.
Road accidents in India 1990-2017
See two graphics:
Indian roads dangerous, China's worse: 1
Indian roads dangerous, China's worse: 2
2016: India vis-à-vis the world
Road accidents claim at least one life every 23 seconds across the globe. And, according to the Global Status Report on Road Safety, India retains the dubious distinction of reporting the maximum number of road fatalities.
The report, prepared by the World Health Organisation (Who) and released on Friday, shows how global road fatalities have swelled to 1.35 million in 2016 from 1.25 million in 2013. Of these, Who adds, one in every nine fatalities were reported in India. It also said that road traffic injury is now the No.1 cause of death among children and young adults aged 5–29 years, signalling a need for a shift in the current child health agenda, which has largely neglected road safety.
The spike in road deaths has come as a shocker considering that countries around the world had pledged to halve their road deaths by 2020 with United Nations declaring 2010-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. “These deaths are an unacceptable price to pay for mobility,” Who chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that “there is no excuse for inaction” as this is a problem with “proven solutions”.
Although data shared by India’s road transport ministry with Who cites the death toll in the country at about 1.51 lakh in 2016, the global agency has estimated it to be higher at nearly 3 lakh, pointing to a huge gap between police and hospital data. The latest road accident report, for 2017, has estimated fatalities at close to 1.46 lakh, a decline of about 3% over the previous year. “We have been waiting for a stronger road safety law for the past four years. But the more important aspect is enforcement and creating a situation where every violator fears getting caught every time,” said K K Kapila of International Road Federation.
According to the Who report, between 2013 and 2016, no low-income country could reduce road deaths while some reductions were observed in 48 middle- and high-income countries. Overall, the number of deaths increased in 104 countries during this period, including in India.
=2017: Lancet estimates Exceed Govt’s By 71,000
In 2017, nearly 600 people died daily due to road traffic injuries in India, a study published in The Lancet Public Heath journal has estimated based on several “verbal autopsy reports”. The estimated loss of nearly 2.19 lakh lives in 2017 was about 71,000 more than what the road transport ministry collated from all the states.
Verbal autopsy report is a method of gathering information about symptoms and circumstances of a deceased persons to determine his or her cause of death. The report, titled “Mortality due to road injuries in the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease”, covered the period between 1990 and 2017 and was released on Monday.
According to the study, the number of deaths due to road injuries increased by 58.7% during this period as compared to only 8.1% globally. It has estimated that the number of pedestrians was 76,729 while the number of motorcyclists killed could be 57,802 and cyclists accounted for 15,324 deaths.
These estimates are far more than the reports that government published. For example, the road accidents report of 2017 says that only 20,457 pedestrians and 3,599 cyclists died in road accidents. Similarly, the government report based on police FIRs claim 48,746 two-wheeler occupants died in road crashes.
The study further claimed that India had a higher age-standardised death rate for road injury among motorcyclists — 4·9 deaths per one lakh population and cyclists 1·2 deaths per lakh.
The report said that motorcyclist and cyclist road injury death rates in India were 69% and 33% higher compared to the global average. “Road injury was the leading cause of death in males aged 15 to 39 years and the second leading cause in this age group for both sexes combined,” it said.
The study found that the overall age-standardised death rate for road injuries varied by up to 2·6 times between states in 2017.
Accidents, road: all India
1 death every 4.5 min in road accidents ‘In 2008, Country Witnessed 4.85L Road Accidents In Which 1.2L People Died’ Dipak Kumar Dash | TNN
New Delhi: Indian roads witness one road mishap every minute and one death in accidents every four and a half minutes, according to the latest report of the road, transport and highways ministry.
The report, which was released this week by the transport research wing of the ministry, said that in 2008, the country witnessed 4.85 lakh road accidents in which 1.2 lakh people lost their lives. And more than half of the road accident victims are in the age group of 25 and 65 years, the ‘key wage earning and child raising age group’.
Similarly, the report estimates that these road accidents left 5.2 lakh people injured.
The annual road accident document also points to high fatalities — almost 65% of the all road deaths — on national and state highways in comparison to other roads. In 2008, while 42,670 persons died on NHs, the state highways claimed 34,081 lives. ‘‘The deaths are on rise despite the ministry spending more on road safety in the last six years. We are not analyzing the actual reasons behind road accidents. Had technical people with road safety expertise been in-charge of the affairs, the situation would not have slipped to this alarming level,’’ said a senior ministry official.
While in 2004-05, the ministry spent Rs 35 crore out of the allocated fund of Rs 39.7 crores, in 2008-09 it shot to Rs 54.8 crore. The report singles out fault of the drivers as the major reason of road deaths. This claimed 89,360 persons in 2008. Fault of cyclists, pedestrians, motor vehicles and bad road and weather conditions were also identified as some of the factors for fatalities on roads across the country.
However, ministry sources said that in the absence of proper investigation of road mishaps, local police put the onus of these accidents on the drivers. ‘‘The report is silent on how the governments’ failure to regulate the issuance of driving licences and lack of proper training of drivers are contributing to this high occurrence of road mishaps,’’ officials said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the ministry has set an ambitious target to bring down road deaths by 50% in the next two years. For this purpose, the budget estimate for 2010-11 has been increased to Rs 180 crore from Rs 74 crores in the previous year.
Total road deaths in 2008:
Share of national highways:
Share of state highways:
People who died due to drivers’ fault: 89,360
The cost of road accidents to the nation
The Times of India, Dec 01 2015
Road crashes costing India Rs 55,000cr a yr
The cost of over nearly 4.9 lakh road traffic crashes annually in India is close to Rs 55,000 crore, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday , while launching a joint road safety campaign by the government and a major car maker along with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan. The actor called for an intense campaign like that of anti-polio or the family planning drive to reduce road crashes and fatalities. Officials said the actual cost of road traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries could be much more since no fresh study has been conducted to estimate the loss; particularly considering the fact that over 50% of dead are in the age bracket of 15 and 39. In 2014, about 1.4 lakh died in road crashes and another 4.9 lakh people were left injured.
The cost to individuals, their families
World Bank study, 2020
More than 75% of poor households surveyed in a study by World Bank reported a decline in their income as a result of road accidents and nearly 42% of such households had to borrow to tide over the financial crisis.
According to the World Bank report, women bore the maximum burden of such road crashes across the low and high income households with about 50% severely affected by the decline in their household income and nearly 40% reporting a change in their working patterns postcrash. Another 11% reported taking up extra work to deal with the financial crisis.
The report “Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society” released by Union road transport minister Nirtin Gadkari on Saturday also found that 30% of the respondents in this study from low income families in Tamil Nadu and 44% in Maharashtra sold or mortgaged their assets to tide over the income loss and the burden of debt.
The study conducted in collaboration with SaveLife Foundation, an NGO, covered 2,400 respondents from low and high income families across both urban and rural areas in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar. It has found that low income households were three times more likely to seek financial help than their high income counterparts.
The report has also highlighted how the poor in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu fared better with a higher survivability rate of 75% compared to UP and Bihar that showed a survivability rate of 53%. This means ensuring quick access to trauma care can help the poor in a big way in saving lives in case of road crashes.
Only 11% of victims from poor families got aid
While the Centre and state governments have been quick to announce compensation or ex gratia to the road crash victims and their kin, a recent study by the World Bank on families of road accident victims in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar has found that families of only 11% victims from poor and 8% from high income categories availed the government compensation.
Ex-gratia is given mostly by the state, central or local authorities in some instances in the event of a crash. It is given to the victims or their families in case the victim either dies in the crash or survives with severe injuries.
The study carried out by the SaveLIFE Foundation found that among those who availed compensation under ex-gratia, just over half of the victims were from low income households while one-fourth of the high income households received the eligible compensation. It also found that only 25% of the low income families of victims were aware of the compensation process and insurance clauses.
Focus Needed On Signages, Lane Marking
Road accidents and fatalities due to fog and mist have increased significantly over the past three years. While 16 people were killed daily in such accidents in 2014, it increased to 21 in 2015 while in 2016,more than 25 people died in similar crashes every day, according to the latest report of road transport ministry.
Only Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Haryana put together had more than half of the total fog and mist-related road fatalities in 2016. Data show while fog-related deaths in UP decreased in 2016 as compared to the previous year, such fatalities increased five times in Haryana.
Government officials said since all these accidents and deaths happen in two-three months, there is a need to put special focus on managing the crisis. “Two factors-—missing lane marking, signages, signals and weak enforcement—are primarily response for the bloodbath on our roads. The three necessary features on our roads to guide drivers are missing and there is no enforcement on our highways, which account for 65% of the total road deaths,” road safety expert Rohit Baluja said.
Even transport ministry officials admit that proper lane marking and signages on roads can address the unsafe driving condition.
“We have no consideration for changes in the environment. The drivers are little aware what precautions they need to take and they commit the same mistake of speeding even after going through reports about vehicle pile up due to dense fog,” Baluja added.
Taking note of the need to have more enforcement to prevent such fatal crashes, the Punjab and Haryana High Court in November 2015 had issued a slew of directions including deployment of more police along stretches where more than three road deaths had happened and putting speed breakers to slow down the vehicles.
Good Samaritan SOPs
The Times of India, Jan 27 2016
Centre finally notifies good Samaritan SOPs for cops
The government has notified a standard operating procedure (SOP) on how to `respectfully' deal with good Samaritans and bystanders who rush road crash victims to hospitals or inform police. The SOP says no such person must be asked to reveal personal details, including full name, address and phone number unless he she volunteers to become an eyewitness. “In case a good Samaritan chooses to be a witness, his examination by the investigating officer shall, as far as possible, be conducted at a time and place of his conveni ence such as his place of residence r business, and the investigation officer shall be dressed in plain clothes, unless the good Samaritan chooses to visit the police station,“ says the SOP notified by the road transport ministry . On January 10, TOI was the first to report that the ministry had decided to notify the norms within a fortnight following the Supreme Court direction to the Centre to submit the steps taken to protect the good Samaritans.
The SOP also specifies that in case a good Samaritan choses to visit the police station, he shall be examined in a single sitting in a “reasonable and time-bound manner“.Even it will be the responsibility of the investigating officer to arrange for an interpreter to interact with the person, if he speaks a language the IO doesn't understand.
SOPs after Supreme Court’s 2016 order
Police can call a good Samaritan for examination only once if he opts to be a witness in a road accident. In a recent notification, the road transport ministry has said in case a statement is to be recorded, it should be done in a single examination.
Complying with the direction of the Supreme Court order of March, the ministry has added the new provision in the standard operating procedures (SOP) for dealing with those who either inform police about road crashes or rush the injured to hospital. “The affidavit of good Samaritan, if filed, shall be treated as complete statement by police while conducting the investigation,“ the notification said. On an average, 400 people lost their lives in road crashes every day in 2015. According to the government's own estimates, half of these deaths can be prevented by providing quick medical care within the first hour of a crash. A study by Save Life Foundation had flagged how nearly threefourth of bystanders are unlikely to help road crash victims and almost nine of 10 would cite fear of legal hassles and repeated questioning by police. A ministry official said this provision will help end the fear of bystanders.
Driving licences issued without a test
54% Motorists In Delhi Skipped Mandatory Step
Six out of every 10 people with a driving licence in India never actually sat behind a wheel to get it, according to a sample survey done across 10 cities, including the five metros, which have the highest vehicle population. Just 12% of drivers in Agra got their licences the honest way , with 88% of the respondents admitting they did not give a driving test. The same goes for 72% drivers in Jaipur and 64% in Guwahati. About 54% in Delhi and half of the re spondents in Mumbai too gave this mandatory test a miss.
The survey, conducted by road safety advocacy group SaveLIFE Foundation, comes at a time when the Rajya Sabha is set to discuss amend ments to the Motor Vehicles Act, which have been passed by the Lok Sabha.
The amendments provide for an IT-based driving test of applicants and a heavy fine for the possession of fake or more than one licence.
“It was appalling to note that 59% respondents admittedly did not give a test to get a driving licence... The licencing system in India is corrupt and inefficient, while the mandatory driver training system is non-existent,“ says the report.
“There are 997 regional transport offices (RTOs) in the country issuing over 1.15 crore fresh or renewed driving licences every year. A rough calculation shows that, on an average, 40 licences are issued by each RTO on any working day and it can be as high as 130 licences per day in case of Delhi,“ the survey says, clearly hinting at the hold that touts still have over the system. A Supreme Court-appointed panel in 2014 had urged the apex court to come out with a direction that every designated officer issue not more than 15-20 driving licences a day since it's humanly impossible to test the skill of 130-150 drivers daily.
It's not just the common citizen, even members of the Lok Sabha could be in the list of offenders. This was indicated when road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, while initiating the debate on the bill in April, asked how many MPs had appeared for a driving licence test, and barely a few hands went up.
The survey mentioned that in the absence of a mandatory driver training system, many in India drive without possessing the knowledge of certain key aspects of safe driv ing, like blind spots, safe distance, including the three-second rule, and thereby fundamentally putting lives at risk.
The report said 80% of all road users feel unsafe and 82% of pedestrians feel the same while crossing a road or walking. In Kochi, 90% of respondents said they felt unsafe on the road.Nearly half of the respondents admitted to having witnessed a fatal road crash. “Similarly , 31% respondents had a family member who was seriously injured in a road crash and 16% had a family member who was killed in a road crash,“ the survey found. It is noteworthy that 91% respondents felt that a strong road safety law would help in reducing road crashes in India and 81% also stated that stricter penalties for traffic offences will help improve road safety .
“It is clear from the study that citizens are deeply concerned about their safety on the road.An overwhelming majority of them feel that a strong road safety law will help in improving the situation,“ Piyush Tewari, founder and CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation said.
2018: 59% of Samaritans face police harassment
A multi-city survey has revealed that eight out of 10 Indians are unaware of the 2016 Good Samaritan law that encourages citizens to help accident victims without fear of police harassment.
Southern metros had the least awareness, with 93% of respondents in Chennai, 92% in Bengaluru and 89% in Hyderabad saying they didn’t know about it, found the survey by the non-profit SaveLIFE Foundation. Indore (29%) had highest recall of the law, followed by Jaipur (28%), Mumbai (22%) and Delhi (21%).
However, the report said nearly 59% of the Good Samaritans interviewed reported that they were detained by the police despite the law forbidding it. Many cops admitted taking their personal details.
Pressure on Samaritans to become eyewitnesses
A survey by a nonprofit organisation found shocking non-compliance with provisions of the Good Samaritan Law, under which all hospitals and police stations are supposed to display a Good Samaritan charter at their entrance, enumerating the rights of the people who bring or accompany the injured to the hospital.
The survey revealed 100% non-compliance on this account. The law says anyone making phone call to police control room about an accident won’t be asked to reveal identity. He or she should also not be compelled to disclose his address or identity either by the police or the hospital staff. If a good Samaritan becomes witness, police will examine him or her with utmost care and only once.
However, the SaveLIFE survey reveals nearly 59% of the surveyed good Samaritan reported they were detained by the police. Many police officials admitted that they take personal details of good Samaritans. “Nearly 74% of the surveyed police officials and 87% of surveyed medical professionals admitted to not having any training on implementing the law,” officials from SaveLIfe said.
The overall lack of awareness about the rights of Good Samaritans indicate lack of public campaigns or insufficient public awareness drives regarding the law, Piyush Tewari, founder and CEO of Save-LIFE, said. The survey interviewed 3,667 people including general citizens, good Samaritans, police officials, hospital administration, medical practitioners and trial court lawyers.
“Out of the respondents willing to help, only 29% were willing to escort the victim to a hospital, 28% were willing to call an ambulance and only 12% said they would call the police,” the report by SaveLIFE said.
As per the Good Samaritan Law, all hospitals and police stations are supposed to display a good Samaritan charter at their entrance, enumerating the rights of the people who bring or accompany the injured to the hospital. However, the survey revealed 100% noncompliance on this account.
The law says anyone making phone call to police control room about an accident won’t be asked to reveal identity. He or she should also not be compelled to disclose his address or identity either by the police or the hospital staff. If a good Samaritan becomes witness, police will examine him or her with utmost care and only once.
However, the SaveLIFE survey reveals nearly 59% of the surveyed good Samaritan reported they were detained by the police. Many police officials admitted that they take personal details of good Samaritans. “Nearly 74% of the surveyed police officials and 87% of surveyed medical professionals admitted to not having any training on implementing the law,” officials from SaveLIfe said.
Commenting on the research report, the CEO of SaveLife Foundation added, “It is quite evident from the study that even two years after the institution of the Good Samaritan Law, citizens are unaware of their new rights. So, people are still hesitant to help. Moreover, implementation of the SC judgement, even at the official level, has been remarkably low.” Tewari suggested that the need of the hour is for states to translate the SC judgment into a State Good Samaritan Law.
The law is needed to save thousands of people who suffer serious injuries and die in road accidents in India because emergency medical services aren’t widely available and bystanders don’t want to get involved fearing harassment.
A backgrounder, As in 2020
A Mumbai court acquitted a woman motorist charged with the death of a pedestrian after it was brought to light that the latter was crossing the road when the traffic signal for vehicular traffic was green. After hearing the witnesses, this is what the court said...
All these facts continuously point to the sudden action of the victim in crossing from a place without a zebra-crossing. Such zebra-crossing is meant for crossing by pedestrians and they are only supposed to cross roads there Jaywalking is…
While the dictionary traces the origin of the word to the drivers of horse-drawn carriages and cars who didn't follow traffic rules and were thus called jay-drivers, the legal definition of jaywalking is a pedestrian who impedes traffic and more specifically, crosses the street when there's a "flashing or steady "DON'T WALK" or upraised hand symbol."
Interestingly, jaywalking is not mentioned anywhere in the Indian Penal Code. However, pedestrians can be booked under the charges of "obstruction of traffic" — with traffic police in various cities routinely conducting drives against jaywalking.
In Mumbai last year, police identified certain areas in south Mumbai where pedestrians indulged in jaywalking, disrupting traffic. CST station, Churchgate, Crawford Market, Haji Ali, Aaykar Bhavan and Colaba Causeway were some areas where people preferred to cross on the road, instead of using subways ot foot over bridges. Nominal fines of about Rs 200 were handed to deter people from jaywalking.
Two to blame
But, it's not just jaywalking that causes accidents. Irresponsible motorist behaviour — as evidenced from the rampant and unchecked encroachment on zebra-crossings usually done by motor vehicles at traffic signals or intersections — is certainly to blame for the increasing number of pedestrian deaths in India — they rose nearly 84% from 2014 to 2018, with average fatalities per day going up from 34 in 2014 to almost double, i.e. 62, in 2018. according to the Union ministry of road transport and highways' 'Road accidents in India 2018' report.
Pedestrians comprised 15% of all road accident deaths in the country. Together, pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheelers accounted for 54% of accident-related deaths and were the most vulnerable category in line with the global trend.
The worst state for pedestrian fatalities was West Bengal with 2,618 deaths, followed by Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In Delhi, 420 pedestrian deaths were reported, more than one-fourth of total road fatalities in 2018.
A study published last year by the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) International, meanwhile, found that in India, "every second pedestrian accident occurred while walking and crossing the road straight." In Gujarat for instance, 3 pedestrians die daily due to jaywalking — forced due to encroachments on footpaths or zebra-crossings. Hundreds are forced to cross busy roads every day due to lack of pedestrian crossings and foot over bridges, even in major cities.
Singapore has stiff penalty, UK has none
Jaywalking isn't a crime in the UK. In the US, it attracts a fine or jail depending on the state where it occurs — in Los Angeles, for example, jaywalking attracts a fine of anywhere between $190-250, in Seattle, it's $56, while in Arizona, it's $250 for the first offence and $2,500 for a repeat offence along with a prison term. Other countries too have laws against jaywalking, such as Australia, where the fine varies according to state; in Sydney it is is AU$75. In UAE, jaywalking attracts a fine of $109. Several European nations, including Germany, impose fines, as well as Canada and the Philippines. In Singapore, repeated jaywalking offences can not only attract a fine of $1,000, but also a six-month jail term.
2020: Court clean chit for driver who ran over jaywalker
Cautioning jaywalkers, a magistrate’s court acquitted a 65-year-old woman, booked in 2011 for ramming into a pedestrian at Marine Drive in Mumbai, after it found that he was crossing the road when the signal was green.
“It is successfully brought on record that her (Kalpana Marchant) defence is probable that her driving was not rash but the accident took place due to rashness and sudden crossing of road on the part of deceased Sadanand Bhatde,” the court said.
Marchant had halted after the accident on January 22, 2011, and Bhatde was lying unconscious. Police took him to hospital, where he succumbed to injuries. Marchant was booked for rash driving and causing death by negligence.
Among the three witnesses were two cops and an eyewitness. The eyewitness told the court he was driving his car in the middle lane. He said a pedestrian crossed the road when the signal was green, and he was hit by a car from the lane on the right. Relying on the witness, the court pointed out that he admitted that Marchant and he were driving at normal speed and the pedestrian came from the left of the road.
Medical, other costs of accidents
2015-16: PGMIER’s findings
Road accident victims or their kin spend an average of Rs 17,830 from their pocket for medicines, procedures and other expenses while “indirect” productivity loss for the injured or those who succumb is about Rs 33 lakh, according to a study by three large government hospitals.
The study “Cost of Trauma Care” was conducted by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGMIER), Chandigarh and two other secondary hospitals including one in Haryana. It covered 2,955 patients from six states, who were treated at these hospitals during 2015-16.
“The indirect productivity loss included wages injured persons lost because of hospitalisation and recovery at home or in instances of being completely bed ridden for life. About 15% of patients tracked died within one year and hence the amount they would have earned has also been calculated,” said Dr Shankar Prinja, additional professor of health economics at School of Public Health at PGMIER.
The identified injured patients were tracked for one year since admission in the hospitals to assess the impact of injuries on their life and family. Prinja shared the findings of the study at a conference on road safety organised by George Institute of Public Health in Delhi.
The study also found that out-of-pocket expenditure for hospitalisation is higher in the case of poor and nearly 80% of such expenditure is on account of medicines and procedures. “It’s the poor who are hit the most in making out of pocket expenditure,” Dr Prinja said.
The research also shows that in more than one-fourth of road accidents cases the families end up spending 30% or more of their total income for taking care of the patients.
This is not the first such study that revealed high cost of trauma care as according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report of 2012, seven out of every 10 road crash victims’ families suffer a dip in income. Two-thirds of such families take loans to cover income loss and many are driven into poverty or debt.
According to government estimates, road accidents and their direct and indirect impact costs about 3% of GDP in India.
50% of road deaths cost ₹18L cr
Reducing road fatalities by half in India and keeping it at the same level till 2038 could generate additional national income of about Rs 17.64 lakh crore, according to a study conducted by the World Bank and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The study titled “The High Toll of Traffic Injuries” was released, analysed the macro-economic impact of road traffic injuries in five low and middle income countries — China, India, Philippines, Tanzania, and Thailand. India has the dubious distinction of maximum road deaths — 1.51lakh in 2016 — and an old estimate by the erstwhile Planning Commission had projected 3% loss of GDP as the cost of road crashes in India.
More than 60% of people killed on roads in India in 2016 were in the age group of 18 to 45 years, which is the most productive age group.
India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration to reduce road fatalities by 50% in another two years. This remains a distant goal as the number of fatalities are in fact on the rise.
“The study shows that by reducing road traffic mortality and morbidity by 50% and sustaining it over a period of 24 years could generate an additional flow of income equivalent to 7.1% of 2014 GDP in Tanzania, 7.2% in the Philippines, 14% in India, 15% in China and 22.2% in Thailand. This puts into perspective the magnitude of economic benefits that the countries may realize with sustained action if they were to achieve the UN targets on road safety,” the report said.
The findings of the study has demonstrated how there is a significant positive effect of reducing road traffic injuries on long-term income growth at the macro-level.
The report says the analysis provides evidence that there is an economic loss associated with every year of inaction where the low and middle income countries fail to move beyond their “status quo” performance on road safety and instead steer towards a trajectory of substantial reduction in road traffic injuries and deaths.
Vulnerable road users, The most-
2014-17: Pedestrians, cyclists, two-wheeler occupants
Fatalities Shoot Up 66% In 4 Years
Indian roads are turning deadlier for pedestrians. Government data show the number of fatalities shooting up from 12,330 in 2014 to 20,457 in 2017 — a jump of nearly 66%. It means 56 pedestrians died daily in road accidents last year, despite policy makers and authorities talking about prioritising safety for walkers.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users as they have no protection in case of an accident. Cyclists and two-wheeler occupants also fall in this category.
According to official data, an average of 134 two-wheeler occupants and nearly 10 cyclists were killed daily in road accidents in 2017.
Tamil Nadu reported a maximum number of 3,507 pedestrians killed in road accidents last year, followed by Maharashtra (1,831) and Andhra Pradesh (1,379). Similarly, in the case of twowheeler deaths, Tamil Nadu topped the list with 6,329 fatalities, followed by 5,699 in Uttar Pradesh and 4,659 in Maharashtra.
In total, the three categories of victims had more than half of the share of all road deaths across the country in the last year.
Union road transport secretary Y S Malik recently lamented how motorists in India, unlike in developed countries, have little respect for the rights of pedestrians.
Designated footpaths are routinely encroached on by parked vehicles and shops, especially in urban areas, forcing the pedestrians to walk on roads.
To cut deaths, govt made ABS a must for bikes
The trend of vulnerable road users getting killed is the same across all southeast Asian countries and hence we need to find solutions to our problems of how to make roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. There is a dire need to segregate these road users from other vehicles to reduce conflicts,” said K K Kapila of International Road Federation.
On September 17, TOI reported how a study by World Bank, iRAP and NHAI had found nearly the entire Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Chennai corridors of Golden Quadrilateral lacking any facility for twowheelers, pedestrians and cyclists. But, there is no specific data on how many pedestrians die on NHs and state highways.
In a step aimed at reducing road fatalities, the Centre has made it must for all models of two-wheelers from April 2019 to have anti-lock braking system (ABS). ABS improves control over the vehicle and decreases stopping distances on dry and slippery surfaces.
2014-18: Pedestrians, cyclists, buses, cars, trucks, two-wheelers
Walking, always an unsafe mode of commuting in India, has become more hazardous in recent years. The number of pedestrians killed on roads rose by a steep 84% between 2014 and 2018, with average daily fatalities going up from 34 to 62.
According to the transport ministry’s road accident report, 12,330 pedestrians died across the country in 2014. The number steadily rose to 13,894 in 2015, 15,746 in 2016, 20,457 in 2017 and 22,656 last year. Road safety experts said the rising fatalities show that the first right of pedestrians on the road has neither been understood nor given precedence while planning roads or while preparing traffic movement plans. Pedestrians and cyclists accounted for 15% and 2.4%, respectively, of all road deaths in 2018.
The ministry’s report for 2018 showed that West Bengal topped the list of pedestrian fatalities with 2,618 deaths during the year, followed by Maharashtra (2,515) and Andhra Pradesh (1,569). In Delhi, pedestrians accounted for 420 deaths, more than one-fourth of the total road fatalities.
Experts said that globally, pedestrians are treated as the most vulnerable road users and their protection gets the highest priority. But in India, pedestrians are becoming more vulnerable with the expansion in urban areas.
‘Pedestrians, bikers most vulnerable’
Almost all footpaths in the country were encroached upon across cities and pedestrians were forced to walk on main roads, an expert said.
“In the western world, a lot of thought goes into making vehicles safe. In countries such as ours, we need to focus more on protecting pedestrians. We have a high number of pedestrian deaths in urban areas and with urban areas expanding rapidly, we are witnessing mo-re such deaths. The entire traffic engineering followed by consultants, concessionares and government is focussed on motorisation,” Rohit Baluja, a road safety expert, said. Municipal bodies and other agencies usually take just cosmetic action on removing encroachments and clearing footpaths, mostly after court orders.
“While governments have failed to take care of the needs of pedestrians while planning roads, there is hardly any training of drivers on how to respect the pedestrians’ right of way,” said Amar Srivastava, president of Indian Road Safety Campaign. The latest road accident report has estimated that vulnerable road users, which include pedestrians, cyclists and twowheeler riders, accounted for nearly 54% of road accident-related deaths.
‘Cyclists, pedestrians & 2-wheeler riders accounted for 57% of road fatalities in ’19’
The number of pedestrians, cyclists and twowheeler riders killed in road crashes has been increasing consistently even as the country has accelerated construction of more roads for fast moving vehicles. The cumulative number of such victims categorised as vulnerable road users (VRUs) has increased from 70,831 in 2016 to 86,190 during 2019.
Even their share in total road deaths has jumped to 57% in 2019 compared to 47% in 2016. Globally, VRUs constitute nearly half of total road fatalities and these road users are termed as most vulnerable since they hardly have any protection in case of a crash.
The latest report of road transport ministry’s “Road Accidents in India 2019” shows that there was decline in the fatalities with regard to occupants of other motorised vehicles in 2019 compared to the previous year. For example, the number of car or taxi occupants killed in 2019 stood at 23,900 compared to 25,115, which is 4% less. In the case of truck or lorry occupants and bus passengers, the reduction in fatalities was 11% and 20% respectively. On the contrary, data show that number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in 2019 was 14% more than 2018 in each case. There was a 1.5% increase in fatalities of two-wheeler occupants.
A study done for road transport ministry to calculate the socio economic cost of accidents had found that nearly 59% of the accident victims, who were hospitalised, were two-wheeler riders and another 15.5% were pedestrians.
2004-2013: road accidents, state-wise figures
Road accidents: 2004-2013, state-wise
Regions: India's highest road fatalities 2008 to 2013 were in Delhi
Delhi sees most road deaths in India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
The Times of India Jun 24 2014
About 40 busloads of citizens die on the capital’s roads every year. From 2008 to 2013, more than 12,300 people died in road accidents here. Last year alone, there were a total of 1,820 deaths.
An assessment of road accidents done by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reveals that not only does Delhi have the most dangerous roads in the country but pedestrians and bikers are at the greatest risk on them. On average, five people die in road accidents every day, and four of them are either pedestrians or twowheeler riders.
The traffic police have identified 128 accident hotspots — places where three or more fatal accidents, or 10 accidents have occurred in a year -and the CSE assessment shows that northwest and southwest Delhi have the most such spots. Taken design-wise, signal-free arterial roads are the most dangerous.
Ironically, roads that have received the maximum government attention and resources for widening and signal-free movement have the highest accident rates.
“These features have, in fact, turned arterial roads into death traps. Especially dangerous are spots where flyovers begin, such as Dhaula Kuan, AIIMS, Sarita Vihar, Mahipalpur, Rajokri, ITO or IP, and Moti Bagh,” says the report released on Monday.
Eight key arterial roads, designed to be high-speed corridors, record nearly 75% of all deaths in Delhi alone.
For nearly a decade now, road infrastructure in Delhi has received a lot of attention but despite having the best roads in the country, the city leads in terms of traffic fatalities. Mumbai records far more accidents—25,000 in 2012—but the number of deaths is around 500. Even Chennai, with 9,000 accidents annually has 1,350 fatalities. However, Delhi has the highest percentage of fatal accidents. Last year, 1,820 persons died in 7,566 accidents.
Traffic experts say violation of rules is rampant in Delhi, and speeding is a common offence due to the better road conditions. This year, more than 3 lakh motorists have been challaned for jumping signals and 45,158 for speeding.
Also, more than 14,000 cases of drunken driving have been detected.
Anil Shukla, additional commissioner of police (traffic), said policies on road safety are framed in fits and starts. “Our roads should be so designed that they are forgiving of the mistakes drivers make,” he said. At the same time, existing laws are not strong enough to deter traffic violations. For instance, the fine for many serious offences is a meagre Rs 100.
Shukla gave the example of a traffic junction, where 1.3 lakh violations were detected in a month, and a man who was challaned 144 times in three months but did not correct his ways. “About 15% are court challans. Most wait for Lok Adalat hearings where cases are settled by paying a fine of Rs 10 or Rs 20. For a person who can afford a Rs 45-lakh car, does a fine of Rs 100 matter?” Half of the road casualties (dead and injured) in Delhi are pedestrians (44%) and cyclists (6%), while nationally, the numbers are 9% and 5%, respectively. Till May this year, 325 people had died in accidents at night and 332 during daytime. An IIT Delhi study of AIIMS Flyover showed that after the cloverleaf was opened, speeds increased by 21.5%, 22.6%, 15% and 31.6% for heavy vehicles, cars, three wheelers and two wheelers, respectively.
Yet, nearly 22% of pedestrians continued to cross the road at ‘grade’ level although a pedestrian underpass is provided.
Regions in 2010-12
Roads in Punjab most fatal in India
Dipak Kumar Dash | TNN
The Times of India 2013/08/16
New Delhi: Chances of getting killed in a road accident is the highest in Amritsar and in the country’s Mercedes capital Ludhiana.
Latest data on road fatalities shows that at least six people died in every 10 road crashes in these two cities in 2012 against only three in Delhi, which recorded maximum fatalities in 2012. Though Mumbai recorded the highest number of accidents among 50 million-plus cities, the fatality rate was only 2%.
The ‘Road Accidents in India’ report prepared by the transport research wing of the road ministry also shows that roads in Punjab are proving to be fatal for commuters. The severity of accident – deaths per 100 mishaps – in the state has been increasing in the past four years. While it was 65.9% in 2009, this increased to 76% in 2012.
“Ludhiana and Amritsar are the worst examples. But the state as a whole is also losing over 4,800 lives in road accidents. We have heterogeneous traffic, little enforcement of noentry timings and huge problem of drink driving,” said Dr Kamalzit Singh Soi, vice-chairman of Punjab Road Safety Council.
The industrial city of Ludhiana has around 1.4 million vehicles for its 3.5 million people, of whom 20-30% are migrant labourers. Soi said traffic coming from six districts passed through the city and almost 23 km of the under-expansion Panipat-Jalandhar highway runs through the urban area.
“On top of this, annually around 35 crore bottles of liquor are sold in the state that has a population of only 2.7 crore. Out of this, around 1.49 crore are women. So, we can make out how many times and how many people drive in a drunken state,” he said.
Delhi is the road death capital too
Dipak Kumar Dash TNN 2013/06/25
New Delhi: New Delhi besides being the capital of the country holds the dubious distinction of being the road death capital. In the year 2012, the city recorded 1,527 deaths in accidents.
Latest data on accidental deaths released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that India’s overall record deteriorated further, with the toll crossing 1.39 lakh during 2012 in comparison to little over 1.36 lakh in the previous year. Chennai seems to be moving closer to the national capital registering 1,401 road fatalities in 2012.
“While Delhi has witnessed high growth of vehicles resulting in slowing down of traffic, the situation is different in Chennai. Roads have become better and the speed of vehicles has increased,” said a road transport ministry official.
The data shows that at all India level, Tamil Nadu has overtaken Uttar Pradesh registering 16,175 deaths during 2012. UP reported 15,109 deaths while Andhra recorded 15,000 fatalities and Maharashtra ranked four among the states with 13,936 deaths
Dipak Kumar Dash
The Times of India, May 27 2016
Uttarakhand's deadly roads are gobbling up lives by the hundreds and no one seems to have a solution in mind. This year from January 1 till April 30, there have been 313 deaths, and counting. In 2015, there were around 913 accident fatalities. In 2014, the number was 878. The figure was 765 in 2013. If the deadly incidents till May in 2016 are any indication, the toll may reach well over 1,000 by the time 2016 ends.
These accidents not question the safety of the state's roads during the peak tourist season but also highlight the apathy of concerned officials and departments in not doing enough to tackle the problem.
Incidentally , most offici als concur on the reasons behind the accidents. “Absence of parapets-crash barriers, over-crowding, untrained manoeuvring at sharp turns, drunken driving, tiredness of drivers, poor maintenance of vehicles and driving while playing loud music are the major factors,“ said Ram Singh Meena, additional director general of police (administration). He added that the best way to bring down these accidents was to look for “pragmatic solutions.“
As to what these solutions can be, nobody has any clear answers although the rising road fatalities (the number of deaths have increased from 698 in 2001 to 913 in 2015) have certainly set alarm bells ringing.
Chhattisgarh, MP, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana, 2014-17
Elections to the five states in India are round the corner. While issues like power shortage, water, tribals, naxals, farmers’ distress have been talked about by the politicians in their campaigns, issue of road safety has been sidelined. Ahead of the upcoming elections, we take stock of the road safety situation in each of these states.
NEGLIGIBLE FALL IN TOTAL CRASHES
All election-led states recorded a fall in total road crashes in 2017 compared to the previous year. However, the drop is too meagre to be celebrated except for Mizoram, which witnessed a massive 18 per cent drop in one year. MP, one of the big election-bound states, has not been able to do enough. It registered 53,399 road crashes in 2017, which is a mere 1 per cent fall from 2016. Since 2014, there has been only a 0.05 per cent annual drop. Chhattisgarh, which is going to be the first of the five to vote, saw reduction in road crashes by mere 0.6 per cent over 2016.
FATAL CRASHES UP IN 3 OUT OF 5 ELECTION-BOUND STATES
In 2017, fatal crashes were up in Chhattisgarh, MP and Rajasthan, while Mizoram and Telangana witnessed a decline as compared to the previous year. A look at the last few years’ data also shows that barring the southern state, almost all states have registered an increase in fatal crashes. In the state of MP, 9,258 incidences of fatal crashes took place in 2017, nearly 500 more from the previous year. And on an average the fatal crashes have gone up by 7 per cent annually since 2014. The tiny northeastern state, which paint a bright picture by having just 140 incidences of fatal crashes in 2017, has fatal crashes growing 3.3 per cent annually too since 2014.
Rajasthan and MP--two big election-bound states saw over 10,000 people dying on their roads in 2017. This translates to nearly 30 people losing lives daily. Barring Mizoram, number of people losing their lives in Chhattisgarh and Telangana aren’t less either. Over 6,000 died on Telangana roads in 2017. In Chhattisgarh, too, the fatalities’ figures run in thousands. In fact, just a month before elections, in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon, a terrible crash between a car and truck wiped out ten people of the same family at one go.
Road crashes and deaths resulting from them are not mere accidents. They are preventable as their causes are known. Sadly, road safety ranks very low on governments' list of priorities and is often a non-issue in elections.
(Mizoram numbers are negligible compared to the other states hence not depicted in the graphics)
2015, ’16Yamuna Expressway
The reply to a recent RTI query has revealed that 2016 saw a 30% rise in the number of accidents on the Yamuna Expressway as compared to 2015. However, fatalities have gone down by 9% between the two years.
In 2016, 1,193 accidents killed 128 people, while 919 accidents in 2015 resulted in the death of 142 people.
During the four and a half years since its opening, the expressway has seen 548 deaths in 4,076 accidents, with 2016 recording the highest number of accidents for one year.
In 2014, 127 people died in 772 accidents, while it was 118 deaths in 898 accidents in 2013. Between August 9, 2012, when the e-way became operational, and December 31 2012, as many as 33 people died in 294 accidents.
K C Jain, secretary of NGO Agra Development Foundation (ADF), who filed the RTI query , said, “Built at a cost of Rs 13,000 crore, there is no slowdown in numbers of accidents and deaths on the e-way . It is a serious cause of concern and the government should take corrective measures.“
“In 2015, the ADF had filed a public interest litigation in the Allahabad high court over the rising number of accidents on the 165km e-way . Consequently, the court directed the organisation to give its suggestions to the state's high-level committee on road safety on measures to reduce accidents. We suggested several measures, but no strong measures were taken,“ added Jain
Success stories, TN, Chandigarh: 2016-18
At a time when increase in traffic fines have divided public opinion, Chandigarh and Tamil Nadu are showing the way in bringing down traffic fatalities by resorting to enforcement of existing rules. While Chandigarh recorded a 35% decline in road deaths from 151 in 2016 to 98 in 2018, Tamil Nadu saw a 29% dip from 17,218 in 2016 to 12,216 last year.
These numbers come in the backdrop of several states expressing their opposition to ‘exorbitant’ fines under the amended Motor Vehicles Act which came into force from September 1. According to data, Tamil Nadu reported maximum decline of 5,002 deaths between 2016 and 2018. The state revived its earlier system of collecting accident data and the state police chief took the lead by designating an additional SP in each district and commissionerate as the nodal officer for road safety. Monitoring too was made stricter.
“It’s not the quantum of fine, but the fear of getting caught every time you commit an offence that brings the difference,” said T Krishnaprasad, DGP (road safety) of Telangana. Chandigarh too has a better record of enforcing the law. Harman Singh Sidhu, who fought for banning the sale of liquor along National Highways said, “The city traffic police has set examples by challaning cops and even vehicles attached to the governor.”
2016/ Rate of accidents: Chennai, Jaipur, Indore, Delhi
The Times of India, Apr 3, 2016
Chennai 2nd in world in rate of road crash deaths
Dipak K Dash
Chennai, Jaipur, Indore and Delhi are among 47 cities across the world to register the highest rate of road fatalities. The latest 'Global Report on Urban Health' released by the UN-Habitat and WHO says the number of persons killed per lakh population in Chennai was the second highest across the major selected cities, at 26.6, next to Fortaleza, the capital of the Brazilian state of Ceara. Jaipur ranked fourth, Indore 16th while Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore occupied 23rd, 24th and 25th positions respectively. Mumbai was in 40th position.
However, the report says progress on road traffic safety is achievable with interventions to reduce speed in urban areas and convenient public transportation.
"Today's Chennai could be tomorrow's Stockholm," it says. The Swedish capital reported only 0.7 death per one lakh population. Sweden has set the ambitious target of zero fatality.
Highlighting how cities, which are the hub of economic activities, need to step up to reduce traffic crashes and deaths, the report mentions that currently 26% of road traffic deaths occur among cyclists and pedestrians and in some cities it is as high as 75%. "In a study of road traffic accidents in Indian cities, the research found that pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for at least 44% of road traffic fatalities, but ranged as high as 60% in Mumbai," it said.
The report also mentions how road traffic injuries have emerged as the eighth leading cause of death in the world and they are also the number one killer of people in the age group of 15-29 years. The last road accident report of India in 2014 showed how about 75,000 deaths, which is 54% of the total fatalities on Indian roads, were in the age group of 15 and 35 years.
It projects total number of motorised vehicles to cross 1.6 billion in the next 20 years. "Most of the increase will be in Asian countries, especially China and India. Within countries, as incomes rise, cities tend to sprawl more, while rising incomes for people are associated with increased vehicle travel," the report said.
The number of vehicles across the globe was only 63 million in 2012.
2016/ 53 killed every day- Uttar Pradesh
Roads in Uttar Pradesh claimed around 53 lives every day in 2016, accounting for 19,320 deaths in the year, the highest among all states since the central government started compiling details of road crashes at the national level.
Admitting that rising road deaths was a major concern for the state police, UP's additional DGP (traffic) Anil Kumar Agarwal told TOI that road accidents killed more people in the state every year than all crimes put together.
According to official data, the number of people killed on UP roads was 17,666 in 2015.The number increased by nearly 2,000 last year despite significant decrease in road crashes from nearly 39,000 in 2015 to 35,612 last year. The data also indicates how every second road crash recorded in the state resulted in death of at least one person. Tamil Nadu also saw similar increase in road deaths from 15,642 in 2015 to more than 17,200 in 2016.
2018, till Oct/ Uttarakhand
A tragic bus accident in Uttarkashi district that left 14 people dead and several injured has once again brought to fore the issue of unsafe roads in the state. In the first 10 months of 2018, 849 people have died in road accidents while 1,334 people have been left injured in Uttarakhand. Between January and October, 1,191 road accidents were reported from across the hill state, according to data by the Uttarakhand police department.
In the corresponding period in the past two years, 770 and 801 people lost their lives in road accidents in 2017 and 2016 respectively. About 1,362 people in 2017 and 1,497 people in 2016 were injured in road accidents.
The number of deaths from accidents this year is expected to rise further as foggy conditions in the winter months will make it even more difficult to drive.
Metros with the best and the worst / 2018
Surprise: Mumbai, Chennai Worse Than Delhi On Many Parameters
Nearly seven out of 10 Delhiites are okay with underage drivers and about 44% drivers won’t stop at zebra crossings to allow pedestrians to cross the road, according to a sample survey done by an automobile major. About 55% of car drivers in Delhi said they weren’t willing to park vehicles in authorised parking lots.
The survey by Ford India covering private drivers, passengers and pedestrians from six Metros and four non-Metro cities indicates a cavalier attitude towards traffic rules and lack of concern for other road users. While Kolkata and Ludhiana were found to be the most “courteous” among major Metro and non-Metro cities, Delhi has the worst score in consideration for others.
According to the survey, nearly 51% of road users said they are unaware that the airbag system works best only when passengers are wearing their seatbelts. At 97%, the level of unawareness in this regard was the highest among the people interviewed in Bengaluru.
The survey has also brought to light how a large section of drivers have little concern for bus passengers as more than a third of them admitted that they would overtake a bus that is dropping off passengers. Drivers from Hyderabad scored the worst on this parameter. Nearly 42% of Delhi drivers covered in this survey admitted that they won’t give way to emergency service vehicles and a similar share of drivers said they would jump a traffic signal, if no traffic police personnel were present at the crossing.
The survey results were released against the backdrop of road safety activists demanding the immediate passage of Motor Vehicles (Amendments) Bill.
2019: fewer deaths, new MV Act may have helped
Around 1.49 lakh people died in road accidents across the country in 2019, a reduction of nearly 1,600 from 2018. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 22,655 fatalities (15% of all road deaths) last year while Rajasthan, Odisha, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Assam also reported a large number of deaths.
All states and Union Territories barring Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Manipur have submitted their provisional accidents, fatalities and injuries data of 2019 with the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety. The panel has been compiling quarterly details to monitor the performance of states in curbing fatalities.
According to the provisional data, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttarakhand saw the decade’s highest year-on-year decline in fatalities in 2019. While Delhi reported 227 fewer deaths in 2019 as compared to 2018, Gujarat and Maharashtra registered 696 fewer fatalities. Karnataka reported 673 fewer road deaths followed by Uttarakhand (181).
Delhi with 1,433 deaths and Tamil Nadu with 10,317 reported the lowest death tolls in the last decade, a comparative analysis of the details show.
The data also indicates the impact of the amended Motor Vehicles Act, which came into force from September 1.
The details shared by states and UTs show that between January and September last year, 300 more people had died as compared to the same period in 2018. However, during the last three months (October to December), there were 1,900 fewer deaths and 5,000 fewer injuries in road accidents as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.
2019, Sept, Oct: dip in road deaths in 8 states
The amended Motor Vehicle Act with provisions of high penalties seems to have had some impact on road deaths. According to the road transport ministry, eight out of the nine states from where details were available show significant reduction in fatalities during September and October 2019 as compared to the same period in 2018.
The amended law came into force from September 1.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Monday, Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said there was maximum decline in fatalities in Uttar Pradesh (143) followed by 77 less deaths in road crashes in Gujarat. Percentage wise, Chandigarh showed the maximum improvement where road deaths reduced by threefourth during this period, followed by Puducherry. Uttarakhand saw nearly 30% decline in fatalities as well.
The average decline in fatalities across eight states was around 22%. Chhattisgarh in the only state where deaths increased by 4.1%.
“Once we have the road crash and fatalities data from all states for the September-December quarter of 2019, we will have a clear picture about the impact of the changed law on road users. Hope this will convince the state governments to enforce the law,” said a government official. Gadkari had said, “The visible impact of the change in Motor Vehicle Act will be felt in one to two years from now.”
2019: road deaths among millionplus cities
Jaipur reported the second highest number of road deaths among millionplus cities in 2019 after Delhi, which remains the city with maximum fatalities despite 227 less deaths in 2019 compared to the previous year. Jaipur had ranked fourth in 2018.
Among the states, Uttar Pradesh continued to report maximum road deaths since 2015 followed by Maharashtra, which has registered second highest deaths for the past two years. The data released by the road transport ministry show that UP registered 22,655 deaths in 2019 followed by Maharashtra (12,788).
Tamil Nadu has been the biggest change maker among all states and UTs by reducing fatalities by nearly 33% in the past five years; from 15,642 in 2015 to 10,525 in 2019. Union road transport ministry Nitin Gadkari has asked all states to adopt the Tamil Nadu model of recording data, investigation and taking remedial measures.
Madhya Pradesh has been reporting more road fatalities and ranked third among the states with high number of deaths in 2019. Among the million-plus cities, Delhi reported 1,463 deaths followed by Jaipur (1,283) and Chennai (1,252). Mumbai ranks at 11th reporting 447 fatalities during last year. Overall, the total fatalities across the country in 2019 stood at a little over 1.51 lakh, which was barely 0.2% less than the previous year.
Remedies, Road safety measures
Fixing black spots brings deaths down
Casualties reduced: 2011-13 Dipak Dash The Times of India Feb 02 2015 New Delhi
Road Casualties Dip By 28% In 2 Yrs: Report Showing that efforts to fix black spots can help reduce road fatalities, the first-ever comparative analysis of trends from the top 25 black spots in 13 states has shown deaths coming down by over 28% in two years. While the number of such deaths was 3,017 in 2011, it came down to 2,153 in 2013. Black spots are locations which report abnormally high number of road crashes. The road transport ministry had flagged off identifying black spots on roads for the first time in 2011 and had also pushed for treatment of such zones.
The 13 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Kerala, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal, together account for 88.4% of the total road crashes in the country . According to the data compiled by the transport research wing of the ministry , the maximum reduction in fatalities at such spots was reported in Tamil Nadu. In absolute numbers, the decline was 385 fatalities between 2011 and 2013.
Madhya Pradesh registered almost 60% reduction in fatalities at such high-risk spots on its roads.
But some other states, including Haryana and West Bengal, reported a minor increase in fatalities. “States where there is no reduction in fatalities are a greater concern for us. The steps taken there are not proving to be adequate. Even in other states, the effort has to achieve zero fatalities at such spots since the agencies are now aware of the causes of crashes and what they need to do to rectify those factors,“ a transport ministry official said.
Officials and road safety experts said certain points or stretches have become black spots because of inadequate facilities to road users, bad road design such as blind turns, lack of traffic signals or narrow junctions.
As per a government report, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which is responsible for fixing 203 of the 322 identified black spots, has completed short-term measures at 159 spots. It has completed longterm remedial measures at 57 spots and work is in progress at another 125 spots.
“But what we are now observing is that new black spots are being identified, once the old ones are fixed.So, we are going to carry out a detailed study of black spots in five states -UP, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Delhi -to identify the steps that need to be taken,“ a ministry official said.
Gujarat: Life ban for driving on wrong side twice
In a strict initiative to curb wrong-side driving, city traffic police along with RTO (Regional Transport Office) have decided to blacklist all offenders caught twice driving on the wrong side of the road.
The city traffic police along with RTO suspended licences of 27 offenders for three months. From next week, permanent cancellation of licences will begin, said officials. Traffic police officials said if a person is caught breaching the rule for the first time, an FIR will be lodged and his papers will be put up at RTO. RTO officials will then suspend his licence for a period ranging from three to six months. Later, if the same person is again caught breaking the rule, his licence will be cancelled permanently and he will be blacklisted.
DCP Traffic (West) Sanjay Kharat told TOI, “Earlier, driving licences could be cancelled if the offender was caught breaking rules for five times. But with the amended traffic laws, traffic police can recommend RTO to cancel the licence if the rule violator is caught in two offences.”
The traffic police along with RTO cancelled seven driving licences and plan to intensify the drive in the near future, said Kharat.
India Road Assessment Programme (IndiaRAP) initiative
FedEx Express and IndiaRAPtie up to curb road mishaps
FedEx Express has decided to support a road safety programme, India Road Assessment Programme (IndiaRAP), which will focus on lowering accidents. IndiaRAP teams have so far undertaken the star rating assessment of over 10,000km of roads across various States in India.
The International Road Assessment Programme (IRAP), which will be hosted by Asian Institute of Transport Development (AITD), will build on a series of road assessment programmes that have already been undertaken by IndiaRAP.
IndiaRAP will seek to eliminate one- and two-star roads that are unsafe to become a leader in promoting the design and construction of five-star smart roads in the country, said Rob Mclerney, CEO, IRAP, an NGO that has developed the rating tool.
There are some low-cost solutions that help prevent crashes on highways such as red and white reflective strips that cost one dollar. IRAP is one of the many tools that can be used to identify high-risk areas from an accident perspective.
Every additional star improves road safety by halving the number and severity of road accidents, according to McLearney, who encouraged the use of IRAP tools. China, which started the rating of over 100,000 km of roads in 2015, has embarked on upgrading the rating of its roads, apart from helping others, according to IRAP.
FedEx Express, which has Safety Above All as a core motive, runs several road safety programmes globally, including a child pedestrian safety programme. This programme has been conducted in over 250 US cities and nine countries including India. In India, it has covered almost 2,750 schools schools since 2007, said Hemant Pimplikar, Managing Director, Sales, FedEx-India.
Fedex has 1,000 motorised vehicles in India and uses road and driver safety as one of the parameters while deciding the routes to be taken by its drivers, said Pimplikar.
Punjab: Get 3rd party cover, furnish security or auction your car
The Punjab government has decided not to release vehicles involved in accidents resulting in death or injuries unless they have third party insurance cover or the owner furnishes “sufficient security” to the court, enough to pay compensation to the victims.
Setting an example for other states, the Punjab transport department has notified that vehicles will be auctioned in three months, if either of these conditions are not met and the proceeds of auction will be deposited in claims tribunal for paying compensation.
The department made the changes in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules on April 3, which is being seen as a major reform to rein in owners who don’t renew third party insurance . Owners of more than 50% vehicles in India, don’t renew third party insurance, which is mandatory. This poses serious risk to victims of accidents involving such vehicles as the insurance companies don’t pay them compensation. In many cases, the owners don’t even have the resources to pay the compensation awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals.
SC orders road safety panel in each district
The Supreme Court directed states and Union Territories to set up ‘road safety committee’ in every district by January to take corrective measures to prevent road accidents. These panels will include the superintendent of police, the health officer and representatives of PWD, NHAI and road transport besides a member of civil society. The court also directed states to set up a trauma centre in each district for quick care of accident victims besides mandatory safety audit of all roads of more than five kilometres. Expressing concern over the growing number of road accidents, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said there was an urgent need to put in place a permanent mechanism to look into the issue.
“There is agreement that at least one trauma care centre should be set up in every district with necessary facilities and an ambulance. States and UTs should take up this recommendation at the earliest since it is on record that treatment soon after a road accident is crucial for saving the life of the victim. In this context, it may also be mentioned that this court has issued certain directions in earlier cases which should be followed,” the bench said.
The Tamil Nadu way
Every 15 minutes, at least two people are involved in a road accident in the state, but the number of grievous injuries has dropped by nearly 25% this year compared to the same period in 2017.
Data from the police Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems shows that between January and June there were 33,026 accidents in the state compared to 33,345 in 2017. But, it’s not the number of accidents that is significant, it’s the 7% decline in grievous injuries and 23% drop in the number of fatalities that make a difference. The number of deaths came down from 8,452 in 2017 to 6,510 in 2018.
The change was seen after the state took measures to bring down the number of road accidents and deaths, following a directive by a Supreme Court committee on road safety in 2016. As part of the plan, transport officials, highways authorities, police and health departments conducted studies, including division of roads into 2km grids to map accident hotspots, improving road design, positioning ambulances in the right areas to meet golden hour standards, and strengthening trauma care facilities.
"Two years ago, we realised that all of us have a role to play in bringing down the number of accidents. A series of studies showed how we can do it," said transport commissioner C Samayamoorthy. "Senior officials formed a WhatsApp group and began discussing problems and solutions every day and results are beginning to show although we have a long way to go," he said.
Though the cause of the accident was recorded as ‘driver’s fault’ in more than 70% of the cases, statistics revealed more complex problems. Mapping showed that accident risk increased with the size of the roads — 37% of fatalities happened on national highways, 34% on state highways and 19% on major district roads. Analysis also showed that speed caused deaths, so the department introduced speed breakers, signage and ensured constant monitoring. "We are planning to install cameras that will gauge speed and click pictures of number plates," he said.
What made the difference was to have ambulances on standby near accident-prone zones. Thus the average response time dropped from 16 minutes to under eight minutes. The ‘108’ app too has streamlined the process. "We use technology to beat geographical hurdles. Callers no longer have to describe the exact location of the accident spot. The ‘108’ app shows the location on the dashboard of the ambulance driver," said M Selvakumar, head of operations for the state-run ‘108’ ambulance.
Since right treatment in the hour of emergency is vital, the Tamil Nadu Accident and Emergency Initiative wing of the health department has developed protocols to bring down trauma deaths in hospitals. "Our efforts are beginning to show," said health secretary J Radhakrishnan.At Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, the death rate has come down within a few months from 8.3% in January to 5.6% April. On an average, the hospital receives 10% of the state’s trauma cases. "It starts from the time the patient reaches the emergency room, sometimes several minutes before," said hospital dean Dr R Jayanthi.
Once patients reach the hospital, they are categorised depending on the nature of injury. Someone with a head injury is moved in for a CT scan within an average of four minutes. In less than 15 minutes, a radiology report is sent to the doctor. Another team begins the paperwork with information from the paramedic, police or relatives. "Streamlining and speeding up the process also means beds in the unit stay open for emergency cases," she said.
The next step, says Selvakumar, is to better the treatment and quicken response time further. "We are training paramedics in advanced procedures like intubating patients in the ambulance. We will move from golden hour to platinum minutes.”
The Times of India, Jul 09 2015
Rumu Banerjee & Somreet Bhattacharya TNN
Violating IRC & CRRI guidelines, speed breakers are being built arbitrarily
Speed breakers have sprung up all over the city, making driving quite hazardous. What's described as a traffic calming measure by the traffic police is a source of great agitation for most drivers. Essentially a pedestrianfriendly measure, these have become a nuisance because they are not built or installed according to guidelines and the choice of spots is arbitrary .This causes damage to vehicles and also poses a threat to people. Rohini resident Atul Kumar was so concerned that he filed a PIL in the Delhi high court against “illegal“ speed breakers. The court has sought replies from the agencies concerned, including the Delhi Traffic Police. While these humps are erupting all over the city, the speed breaker committee, which had been set up specifically for the purpose of identifying locations, hasn't met for a long time.
The traffic police, which is the primary agency for identifying the location and need for speed breakers, says it recommends them based on requests from resident welfare associations or for stretches where speeds need to brought down or which are accidentprone. The reality though is that several speed breakers have come up since 2014 which don't adhere to the guidelines of the Indian Road Congress (IRC). “Based on RTI replies, we identified 24 speed breakers that don't follow IRC norms. There must be scores more we don't know about inside colony roads or on arterial roads,“ said Kumar.
According to IRC's 1987 guidelines, a speed breaker should have a radius of 17m with a width of 3.7m and a height of 0.1m. This is calculated to reduce the speed of the vehicle to 25kmph. Organisations like CRRI (Central Road Research Institute) have also come up with a code for speed breakers at various speeds speed. S Velmurugan, head of the traffic engineering and road safety division in CRRI, explains: “For instance, if you want to bring the speed down by even a fraction to 50kmph, then the dimensions of a speed breaker will be different from one which brings down the speed to 30kmph.“ Such speed humps come as speed “tables“ or “transverse bar markings“.
And Velmurugan admits that these specifications are not being followed. Mukhtesh Chander, special commission er (traffic), however, claim that permission to construct a speed breaker is given only af ter an extensive survey by th traffic police and PWD “There are residential colo nies which have installed speed breakers on colony roads which we have strongly objected to and asked the civi bodies to take appropriate ac tion,“ he said. One such speed breaker installed near Market No.3 of CR Park has become a major nuisance. It is just a few steps away from a busy traffic light and cars slow down here, causing a tailback. Apparently , no approval was sought from the traffic police. Away from the colonies, speed breakers have been installed at the foot of flyovers at many places. This is most dangerous because there is a heightened risk of a vehicle ramming the one that has slowed down. So, cars are just driving over it.
According to Velmurugan, speed breakers should be built at intersections, especially when a minor road meets a major arterial road. Warning signs should be placed 100m before the hump or 50m in case of low-speed roads. Speed breakers should have reflective white paint in order to warn commuters. These should not appear suddenly or be invisible.
Haryana: Fixing faulty bumps
The Times of India, Jul 07 2015
Fix faulty bumps: Haryana HC
The Punjab and Haryana high court has asked the Haryana government to identify and flatten all speedbreakers that don't adhere to standards.
The high court has also asked the state to penalize agencies responsible for constructing such bumps while taking note of concerns that faultily designed humps expose people, especially the elderly, to head, spinal and cranial injuries and also damage vehicles.
Bhiwani Sudhar Vikas Samiti, a Haryana-based NGO, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) for fixing unscientific speed bumps in Gurgaon and other districts.
Most speed bumps in the city are not built to Indian Road Congress' specifications, NGO chief Pawan Kumar Anchal told TOI on Monday. “The lack of enforcement of these specifications by authorities-be it HUDA, the municipal corporations or the public works department--has caused several accidents, damage to vehicles and is also responsible for spine-related problems of the elderly and disabled persons,“ he added.
“In some places, you will find speed breakers built at a higher level than average ground clearance of most cars. In other parts, there's neither any painting of the speedbreaker nor any signage prior to it,“ the NGO chief pointed out. The next hearing in the high court is on July 21.
Gurgaon deputy commissioner T L Satyaprakash agreed a survey needs to be done to identify faulty speed bumps. “We need to carry out an audit of where speed breakers are a must and where they are not needed. We also have to ensure those are scientifically built. MCG, HUDA and PWD should take this up in their areas,“ he said.
Pankaj Agarwal, director of the Urban Local Bodies, which is responsible for im plementing the high court order, said, “We have sent out letters to all deputy commissioners and municipal commissioners seeking information about speed breakers built by them, before July 21.We will prepare a reply to be filed in the court once we get the inputs,“ he said.
Doctors said that speed breakers are responsible for spinal injuries, and the elderly and the kids are the most vulnerable.
Dr Vineesh Mathur, director of Spine Services at Me danta, said, “Speed breakers must be marked and be visible from a minimum of 100 metres. Unmarked bumps are the main cause of spinal injuries in the sitting position, as it causes vertical loading. The most affected are old people as they have weak bones and soft tissues.“
The Society of Indian Automobiles Manufacturers' director general Vishnu Mathur said, “The government charges heavier excise duty on vehicles with bigger ground clearance. It is an irony that in India, when most automobile companies are aiming to match their vehicle standards with the US and Europe, the standards of roads are not up to the mark, especially the speed breakers.“
Speed breakers and the law
2016: Delhi HC orders removal
The Times of India, May 26 2016
A bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said speed breakers constructed on public roads without authorisation or recommendation of traffic police and not conforming to prescribed norms are “unauthorised“ and must be removed. The high court gave four weeks to all civic bodies--the three municipal corporations, public works department, New Delhi Municipal Council, Delhi Cantonment Board and Delhi Development Authority--which are responsible for maintaining the roads in the capital.
The court also directed the traffic police and the civic bodies to ensure that speed breakers which do not conform with the guidelines of Indian Road Congress and the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning & Engineering) Centre are not constructed.
The court said that plastic or PVC speed breakers must also be removed if they fail to conform with the guidelines and if they haven't been cleared by the traffic police. The high court also directed the agencies to put up signage, according to the guidelines, which will help the commuters to know there is a speed breaker.
The bench made it clear that its directions “shall be strictly complied with“ and warned that in case of noncompliance, it “would be constrained to take coercive action“. The court was hearing two PILs filed against the construction of speed breakers without compliance with the guidelines. One of these was filed by Guru Hanuman Society , an NGO. The PIL wanted directions from the court to remove all the “ill-designed speed breakers constructed since March 2014“.
The high court has listed the petitions for August 31.The authorities have to file affidavits by then, indicating they have complied with the court's directions
Claimed 3,409 lives in 2015
Speedbreakers probably take more lives in India than they save. Road transport ministry data reveals that these `safeguards' are the cause of 30 crashes daily , killing at least nine people a day .That's the average for two years since the government started collecting data on speedbreakers in 2014. Last year's figures are yet to be published, but government sources say they are likely to be similar.
In fact, speedbreakers in India claimed more lives (3,409 in 2015) than all road accidents in Australia and the UK (2,937 deaths in 2015) put together. Faulty design, poor material and lack of prominent markings make them dangerous for road users.
“This is a menace across the country . We have speedbreakers on every road which can break your bones and da mage your vehicle,“ admitted Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari. He told TOI that his ministry will write to states to ensure norms are followed while building speedbreakers. Gadkari said his ministry will seek to ensure that speadbreakers come up only at designated spots after a proper assessment. In rural areas, speedbreakers can be found at every 100 metres, particularly near the residence of local leaders. In many places, people make DIY bumps with bricks to slow down traffic.
While the ministry has instructed highway-owning agencies to remove all speedbreakers from the main carriageways, it says it can only advise states to follow norms.
So, are speedbreakers a good idea or not? Traffic experts say that depends on the type of road. For example, there should be a speedbreaker where a minor road meets a major road so that vehicles coming from small roads slow down. In urban areas, they should be built after assessing how crash-prone those areas are.
But ill-designed speedbreakers become dangerous, cautions A P Bahadur, road safety consultant for World Bank. He suggests greater use of alternatives like rumble strips and 5mm thermoplastic layers. “People feel speedbreaker is the only solution to road crashes. There are instances when locals demand its immediate construction after a major crash takes place,“ he says. In such cases, local engineers do what is demanded of them.
Speed limits within cities
(For Speed limits on National Highways see the page National Highways: India )
At present, the urban speed limits set by local authorities range around 40-50 kmph.
Ring roads and arterial stretches coming up in cities prompted the govt to set a higher speed cap.
Nitin Gadkari cleared the proposal for capping the speed limit for all types of vehicles on 4 categories of roads.
In a first such move, the Centre has approved the maximum speed limit on urban roads at 70 km per hour (kmph) for cars, 60 kpmh for cargo carriers and 50 kmph for two-wheelers. However, state governments or local authorities can specify reduced speed limits for each category considering the safety of other road users.
Till now, the road transport ministry used to set the national maximum speed limit for different categories of vehicles, which left grey areas with respect to limits on different types of roads for which states or local authorities had not specified the maximum speed.
At present, the urban speed limits set by local authorities range around 40-50 kmph. Sources said the growing number of ring roads and major arterial stretches coming up in urban areas prompted the ministry to set a higher speed cap. “Since the state and its agencies have full authority to reduce the limit, they can now decide on which stretches they can allow vehicles to ply at the limit set by the Centre,” an official said.
Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday cleared the proposal for capping the speed limit for all types of vehicles on four categories of roads. A committee headed by joint secretary (transport) Abhay Damle had recommended higher speed limits on expressways and for buses on highways. TOI had on February 8 first reported the ministry’s go-ahead for 120 kmph speed limit for cars on expressways.
As per the decision, which will be notified soon, no action would be taken against drivers if the vehicle’s speed was within 5% of the maximum speed limit.
The decision to put a higher cap on speed in urban areas comes at a time when there is growing demand across the globe to “slow down” vehicles to reduce road fatalities. Speeding has been the biggest reason of road deaths in India, claiming 74,000 lives in 2016.
Lack of speed cameras and poor enforcement by police have encouraged speeding.
New Delhi : Last year 3,899 people travelling in tractors and attached trolleys died in road crashes, which translates to a loss of 10 lives per day, despite the fact that agricultural tractors are not meant for carrying people. The trend has been more or less similar in the past few years, though the trolleys are designed only for carrying agri produce and other goods.
But the recent two incidents involving tractors in Uttar Pradesh, which claimed 36 lives, have put the limelight back on the concern over the blatant violation of the traffic law and has also highlighted the need to bring in better standards fortractor trolleys.
Currently, trolleys attached to the tractors are largely manufactured by the unorganised players and there are minimum standards for them, barring their dimensions, axle load and rear lights. But these are also not adhered to as the owners try to increase the size of trolleys to carry more goods. Rarely can one find tractor trolleys withback lights to warn any approaching vehicle. Since trolleys are only attached to the tractors, the trolleys don’t have any braking system and these lack shock absorbing capacity. Experts said since the vehicles usually ply on undulating surfaces while carrying people, they can also pose high risk to occupants. They say there is a significant risk of toppling andhence, they are meant only for carrying goods and must not be allowed to carry people.
TOI has learnt that though a proposal was mooted for synchronisation of brakes in the trolleys with the main tractor a few years back, it was shelved because of opposition from different groups. “First, the trolleys lack a very stable structure and there is hardly any enforcement of rules considering that matters relating to tractors are politically sensitive. So, introducing new standards and enforcement of traffic laws becomes tough,” said a government source. Road safety expert Rohit Baluja said there has to be a comprehensive system with definition and accountability of all stakeholders who are key participants and decision makers.
Road accidents mostly result in death or serious injuries
The Times of India, May 27 2016
Half of all road accidents result in death or serious injuries
In an alarming trend, at least 50% of all the road crashes ended up with either fatalities or grevious injuries, according to latest government data. Over 1.46 lakh people died in road crashes in India in 2014.
The Road Accidents in India (2015) report shows that out of little over five lakh crashes, nearly 1.32 lakh were fatal ones and another 1.2 lakh resulted in grievous injuries. “Many of the seriously injured may be becoming permanently disabled. Such injuries have huge implications on families and in many cases they are pushed to poverty ,“ said road safety expert Rohit Baluja.
According to estimates of Asian Development Bank, seven out of 10 crash victims' families suffer decrease in income and two-third of victims' families take loans to cover income loss.
The report also mentions how the numbers of hit-and-run cases and fatalities of two-wheeler riders have also gone up significantly . Their numbers increased from 18,703 in 2013 to 20,709 during 2015. Similarly, at least 46,000 people riding two-wheelers were killed in road crashes last year.
Two-wheeler riders are one of the constituents of “vulnerable road users“, which includes pedestrians and cyclists. The total share of the three categories of road users claimed 63,100 lives, which is almost 43% of the total road deaths last year.
The report also mentions how number of crashes and share of fatalities is higher on roads that pass through rural areas. According to data, 61% of the fatalities were reported on roads falling under rural areas, which also includes national and state highways.
“Besides lack of proper engineering of roads, we have the issue of people hardly getting caught for traffic offences. Just hiking fines will not serve any purpose unless there is proper enforcement,“ Baluja pointed out.
2014: Age profile, regions worst affected
The Times of India, Sep 03 2015
75,000 youngsters killed in road crashes in 2014
Delhi tops list of deadly cities with 1,671 dying in 2014
India's killer roads claimed the lives of 75,000 people aged between 15 and 34 years last year. Over 82% of these victims were males, according to the Road Accident Report for 2014 prepared by the road transport and highways ministry .
PM Narendra Modi too made an appeal on the issue to elders of families in a recent radio address.
According to the report prepared by the ministry's transport research wing (TRW), the total number of road crashes has increased marginally from 4.86 lakh in 2013 to 4.89 lakh in 2014. The number of fatalities has also gone up by about 1.5%. Thirteen states -Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana -account for about 83.2% of the deaths.
It says about 12% of the fatalities happened in 50 cities with populations of over a million each, Delhi leading with 1,671 deaths and Chennai registering the second highest number at 1,118.
2014-15: poor and young people worst impacted
The Times of India, June 20, 2016
Poor, young worst-hit in road crashes: Report
The poor and the young (in the age-group of 15 to 30 years) are the worst impacted in road crashes, an evaluation of India's first cashless scheme for accident victims has revealed. According to the interim report, nearly 75% of the crash victims on Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch of NH-8 were the poorest.
The evaluation carried out by the PGI, Chandigarh has revealed how the number of crashes recorded or registered by police are far less than the actual numbers. The difference in number of crashes as recorded by police and insurance companies for claims between September 2014 and September 2015 has been found to be more than five times in some months.
“Data collection is very poor in our country . There is a concrete finding to suggest how we need to have a robust compilation of road crash details,“ a transport ministry official said. In fact, World Health Organisation had estimated the total fatalities in road crashes in India at around 2.07 lakh while government data put it at 1.37 lakh in 2013.
After rolling out the first scheme to provide first 48 hours' free medical care costing up to Rs 30,000 on the Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch, the road transport ministry had implemented this on Mumbai-Vadodara and Ranchi-Mahulia stretches. While 13,252 road crash victims were provided medical help on the GurgaonFaridabad stretch, in case of the Mumbai-Vadodara stretch there were 2,238 beneficiaries . There were 1,318 beneficiaries in the case of the Ranchi-Mahulia stretch. The average cost per beneficiary was around Rs 14,381.
The transport ministry has proposed to extend the cashless scheme to the entire Golden Quadrilateral and East-West and North-South corridors, which will cost around Rs 254 crore annually .
2014: Age of vehicle and accidents
The Times of India, Sep 03 2015
Newer vehicles involved in bulk of accidents
Contrary to the general belief that old vehicles are likely to be involved in more crashes, particularly fatal ones, the latest official data shows that it's 1-6-yearold vehicles that are involved in the largest chunk of such cases. Vehicles ranging from 2-4 years old accounted for the highest numbers of both crashes (86,956) and deaths (24,494), the national road accidents report shows. This is for the first time the report prepared by the government's transport research wing has incorporated such details. “This data itself can be used to analyze why young fleets are involved in more cases. However, it's quite clear that the human beings behind the wheel are mainly responsible for crashes and fatalities.Speeding could be one of the key reasons. But so far, no scientific study has been done to establish the reason,“ said a government official.
In fact, the report mentions that 78.8% of crashes are caused due to “driver's fault“ and more than 56% of the total deaths were due to speeding. Across the globe, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and not wearing helmets and seatbelts have been identified as the main factors behind crashes and high fatalities.All these relate to the behaviour of drivers.
The carelessness of drivers is also established from the data, which shows that the share of fatalities in rural areas is higher since commuters have little fear of getting caught because of almost no presence of traffic police personnel.
Income levels of victims/ 2017, 18
The hospitalisation samples of road crash victims from 54 hospitals across 20 cities show that 34% of them had no income and another 28% had monthly earnings between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000. This data collected during a study to work out the socio-economic cost of road accidents for the road transport ministry has revealed how it’s the poor who are the worst impacted in road crashes.
The data show that barely 3% of the crash victims had monthly earnings of more than Rs 50,000. It was also found that nearly 59% of the accident victims who were hospitalised were twowheeler riders and another 15.5% were pedestrians. Pedestrians, two-wheeler riders and cyclists are categorised as the most vulnerable road users (VRUs) across the globe considering that they hardly have any protection in case of a crash and hence there is a high chance of these road users getting killed in such incidents.
Sources said about 6,600 samples were collected from 31government and 21private hospitals. Nearly 10.7% of the accident victims admitted in hospitals were car, SUV and taxi occupants.
The study conducted by a consortium of TRIPP of IIT (Delhi) and DIMTS also collected 6,400 FIRs spanning over two years from police stations across 14 cities. It found that in 7% cases, the crashes were fatal and in 66% cases the victims were left with grievous injuries. The analysis of the FIRs also brought to light that nearly 40% victims were twowheeler riders and about 39% victims were pedestrians. The share of car, SUV and taxi occupants was around 8.8%.
The age-wise distribution of data showed that about 67% of the victims were in the age bracket of 18 to 45 years, which is the most productive age group.
The report submitted to the ministry, which is yet to be made public, has concluded that since more than threefourth of the road crash victims are the two-wheeler riders and pedestrians, there is an urgent need to address the vulnerability of these road users by taking measures with regard to improving enforcement, infrastructure and healthcare services.
No Accident Day, UP: 2015
The Times of India, Jul 02 2015
UP's `No Accident Day' a hit as no mishap in three big cities
UP's ambitious `No Accidents Day' saw something close to a miracle. No road mishaps in three of its biggest cities -Meerut, Agra and Bareilly -were reported on July 1 till late in the evening. To make the campaign successful, police had been deployed at high-accident `grey' and `black' spots across the state.At many places they conducted eye check-ups. The state reported 16,287 deaths from traffic accidents and 22,337 injuries in 2014.According to traffic officials, 70% of road mishaps occur due to negligence, while 10% occur because of snags.
Months when accidents highest (May), lowest (monsoons)
STATOISTICS - RAIN-FALL
The Times of India Aug 02 2014
The monsoon might mean waterlogged roads, flooding of low-lying areas, overflowing of gutters and ditches -complete traffic chaos in a nutshell. An analysis of NCRB data on traffic accidents in the past ten years shows the positive side of this turmoil. At the all-India level, July, August and September witness the lowest number of accidents. May, on the other hand, is the month that sees the most accidents. Experts link this to clear weather during the month in most of the country and the fact that truckers' working hours increase also because goods are being transported before the rains make it more difficult to do so. Because engines tend to heat up during the day in the summer, commercial transport seeks to maximize the night. With visibility also good, average speeds tend to rise too, hence the larger number of accidents in May. The monsoon, in contrast, increases caution and reduces speed and volume of traffic. A state-wise analysis shows variations from this all-India trend. But these can also be linked to the local climate and terrain. For instance, accidents spike in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh during the winters, perhaps due to the dense fog often seen in these months
Soldiers: Major peacetime killers
The Times of India Apr 21 2015
At least 300 jawans die every year
Without going to war the Army has lost well over 6,500 soldiers in peacetime since the 1999 Kargil conflict. Around half that the number of soldiers were killed in each of the three wars fought in 1962 1965 and 1971.
It includes around 4,700 “battle casualties” occurring due to enemyterrorist ac tion and extreme weather natural disasters in high-alti tude areas as well as different kinds of on-duty mishaps, in cluding road accidents.
Over these numbers, sui cides constitute a major chunk of “non-operational“ deaths. Around 100 soldiers take their own lives in the Army's highly-disciplined environs every year despite successive governments holding several measures have been taken to reduce stress in the 1.17 million-strong force. Just since 2010, over 520 soldiers have committed suicide.
But the toll in counter-ter rorism operations has largely been brought under control over the last several years, even though soldiers are still not properly equipped with basic protection gear like light-weight modular bulletproof jackets and ballistic helmets. The annual counter-terror casualty rate is now down to below 50 from around 300 just over a decade ago.
The Army may have gained “ascendancy“ over militancy but it's finding it difficult to tackle the biggest peace-time killer among its ranks. Consider this: 313 soldiers were killed in road accidents in 2003, 315 in 2004 and 295 in 2005. A decade later, the numbers still stand at 306 (2012), 297 (2013) and 284 (2014), as per data collected by TOI.
The ongoing Army commanders' conference in New Delhi would do well to focus on concrete measures to reduce road accidents in the force.These could range from more rigorous training for drivers and proper pre-induction training before deployment in treacherous terrain as well as stricter overall monitoring and phasing out of old vehicles.
A senior officer, however, contended the number of deaths was “not much“ compared to the “sheer volume“ of the Army's vehicular movement across the country . Take just the infantry , which has 382 battalions with 800-900 soldiers each. There are around 40 vehicles, from motorcycles to heavy-duty ALS 5-tonne trucks, in each battalion.
“Yes, there are many cases of negligent driving. But our drivers also have to drive in snow-bound mountains, deserts, jungles or marshes. If one truck goes down a valley , 20 soldiers could be killed in one go,“ said another officer.
There is also the “fatigue factor“ in long convoys, which carry troops, ammunition and other supplies, to different areas. “Proper maintenance of vehicles is also carried out, with older ones like the famous Shaktiman trucks being phased out,“ he said.
State Road Transport Corporations/ Undertakings
Delhi Transport Corporation’s accidents
The Times of India, Nov 26 2015 Rumu Banerjee
Most DTC bus mishaps due to rash driving: Study
At a time when the Delhi government is making serious efforts to promote public transport, an internal study by Delhi Transport Corporation has revealed shocking facts about the state of the bus agency . An analysis of data till July 2014 and 2015 has shown that a significant number of accidents involving DTC buses were due to “rash and negligent“ driving. While 16.66% of accidents took place due to a fault of DTC drivers, 5.56% were due to fault of “others“. According to data by the traffic police, DTC has had fi ve fatal accidents in the past two months, three in October and two in September. The transport utility , meanwhile says there have been 18 fata accidents involving DTC bu ses between January and Ju ly this year. The internal stu dy, which looks at accident fi gures from January to July compares the accident figu res of 2015 with 2014.
In the same period last ye ar, there were 18 fatal acci dents but none due to rash and negligent driving. There are also figures for accidents due to other reasons, clubbed as “miscellaneous“ and stand at 66.66%. This sub-he ad, said officials, were for accidents caused due to external factors. In 2014, all the 18 accidents had happe ned under this category .
Interestingly, there is also a sub-head for accidents caused due to “alighting of passengers“. This consists of one accident or 5.56% of passengers “alighting“ from the front gate while another accident is due to boarding of passengers from rear gate.
While DTC claims accident rates have “come down“, the traffic police have a different story to tell. According to the cops, speeding is a common complaint, one that has elicited remarks about DTC and cluster buses “going the Blueline way“.And though DTC officials say that speed governors have been installed on buses, the reality is that few of them work.As a result, most drivers still drive at a high speed on cong ested roads leading to accidents. Said a senior government official, “The fact is that almost none of the buses of DTC has a working GPS, nor speed governors. Checking speed or route thus is difficult.“
DTC has 12,196 drivers on its rolls, with roughly 4,000 being contractual. Drivers involved in accidents are chargesheeted to which they respond within a given period. If accepted, they get back on duty . The rest are suspended and go through an inquiry committee, which decides on the quantum of punishment. After that, they are put back on duty .
Two-wheelers, accidents involving
Two-wheelers claim 94 lives every day
Dipak Kumar Dash
Two-wheelers claim 94 lives a day while trucks and lorries account for 66 fatalities, according to the NCRB report for 2013. Though overall, there is marginal reduction in total number of people killed on roads last year in comparison to 2012, these two indicators signal how there is little regulation or enforcement of road safety measures.
Two-wheelers at higher risk
The Times of India, May 23 2016
An analysis of 3,750 samples of road crash victims, who were brought to JPN Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS in Delhi last year, shows that the mortality rate of victims riding two-wheelers was 8.4% and for cars users it was 8.3%.
In the two-wheeler category, the majority of the dead (71%) were drivers while in the case of cars, passengers accounted for 70% of the fatalities. The data presen ted by Dr Amit Gupta of trauma surgery and critical care department at a recent road safety conference organised by Institute of Road Traffic Education indicated how there is a dire need to enforce helmet and seatbelt laws for all occupants in mo tor vehicles.
Another study conducted by King George's Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow showed how a high proportion of those killed or injured in road crashes were either drivers of two-wheelers (43.1%) or pillion riders (15.4%). “We found that only 15.4% of the victims rushed to hospital were wearing helmet and the usage of seat belt at the time of crash was only 14.3%,“ said Dr Ajai Singh of KGMU.
The study also showed that out of 267 patients registered for the study, 35 (13.1%) died during the course of their treatment and another 36 patients were discharged with permanent disability .It was also found that 16.9% drivers brought to the hospital did not have driving licence.
Moreover, over-speeding, alcohol consumption and sleep deprivation was reported at 14.2%, 8.6% and 0.7% respectively.
Data from both AIIMS Trauma Centre and KGMU showed that nearly half of the injured brought to hospitals were in their prime of their youth. Trauma Centre data showed that 50% of all injured patients they received in 2015 were related to road traffic injuries.
60% of accidents at T-points involve two-wheelers/ Delhi
A study by traffic police has revealed that 60% of accidents at T-points involve bikers. A mix of speeding and non-adherence to even basic rules, such as wearing helmets, makes riders vulnerable. Traffic police had recently proposed setting up of speed breakers at T-points after it was found that the number of road accidents involving two-wheelers had suddenly spiked at these crossings.
Almost half of these accidents were head-on collisions. Police have now requested the corporations, PWD and NHAI to conduct a study at these accident-prone points and consider constructing speed-calming devices. While analysing fatal accidents, police found that almost 70% of the victims were bikers who either tried to jump traffic signals or crossed the stop line to get a head-start once the signal turned green.
According to the traffic police study, about half of accidents at T-points occurred on intersections of radial roads, such as Ring Road and National Highways, or arterial roads connecting residential colonies. Most accidents took place after peak hours when roads became comparatively empty.
Special commissioner (traffic) Dependra Pathak said after analysing the accident figures, they identified 77 spots that were prone to fatal accidents. “We’ve asked traffic inspectors under whom these stretches fall to discuss the matter with area PWD officials and install speed-calming measures so that vehicles driving out of colonies don’t rush into busier roads at high speed,” he said.
The corporations have been asked to look into designs that conform to guidelines on speed breakers. Police officers said construction of table tops, like the ones set up around Lutyens’ Delhi, was being considered at most junctions. Similar corrective measures on stretches like NH-24 have brought down road casualties in the last two months.
Not wearing helmets contributed to 50% of biker deaths, the study found, especially in northeast and outer Delhi where police presence was lower after midnight. As much as 80% of these deaths were caused by two factors: a vehicle either toppled after hitting another — like it happened in Alipur on Saturday night — or the rider lost control and rammed a pole due to speeding.
The maximum number of fatal accidents at crossings occurred between 11pm and midnight. Police said private cars were found to be biggest killers on road during this time. Most of the accidents took place near flyovers and junctions.
(Legal aspects, compensation to victims)
Fatal Accidents Act, 1855
Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN
The Times of India, July 9, 2011
SC: Mughal-era legislation still governs road accident relief
Apart from the penal laws punishing drunk drivers running over people, the offender can be sued by the victim’s relatives for compensation under a law that was enacted when the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was the titular head of the throne at Delhi.
Taking note of this, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to immediately commence work to draft a new law to replace the archaic legislation. It expressed serious concerns over the extreme inadequacies in the law governing suits for damage filed by relatives to claim compensation for death due to rash and negligent act, including drunken driving cases. It rapped the government for not taking note of a 20-year-old apex court judgment recommending drastic change in the 1855 law or a new legislation to meet the present-day challenges.
A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha said, “We are constrained to observe that a suit for damages for a murder of a person, like the present one, is filed under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855. As the year of enactment shows, the Act dates back to the period when the greater part of the country was under the control of East India Company with the last Mughal ‘Emperor’, Bahadur Shah Zafar, as the ineffective, though titular monarch on the throne at Delhi.”
The Act was enacted to provide compensation to families for loss occasioned by the death of a person caused by actionable wrong. “It is a matter of grave concern that such sensitive matters like payment of compensation and damages for death resulting from a wrongful or negligent act are governed by a law which is more than one and a half centuries old,” said Justice Alam, who wrote the judgment for the bench.
With anguish it remembered that a constitution bench of the Supreme Court in a 1990 judgment had said: “The Fatal Accidents Act, on account of its limited and restrictive application, is hardly suited to meet such challenge. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the old antiquated Act should be drastically amended or fresh legislation should be enacted which should contain appropriate provisions for various exigencies.” Justice Alam said: “It is unfortunate that the observations of the SC have so far gone completely unheeded.”
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) 2017
The Lok Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to reduce crashes, deaths and injuries on roads and bring reforms in the road transport sector. The proposed legislation, which will now go to the Rajya Sabha for approval, has provisions of making stringent penalties for traffic violations, checking fake driving licences and introducing measures to protect good Samaritans.
The bill also has provisions of making vehicle-makers responsible for design defects, recall of faulty vehicles and also holding roadowning and maintenance agencies or contractors accountable for road deaths and injuries on account of flaws on their part. Such agencies will have to cough up fines up to Rs 1lakh.
While most of the provisions were largely welcomed by members, there were reservations about government indirectly putting a cap on insurance compensation where victims or their kin agree to Rs 5 lakh for death and Rs 2.5 lakh for grievous injuries. In these cases, they can't pursue the case in the Motor Vehicles Claims Tribunal (MACT). This has co me under criticism from various quarters, though the government claims that in more than 70% of cases the average compensation awarded by the tribunal is less than Rs 5 lakh.
Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said those who don't accept the compensation offered by insurance companies will be free to pursue the case in MACT and in those cases the insurance companies will pay the entire amount awarded.
The bill was passed by a voice vote after several amendments, moved by opposition members, were rejected. Though CPM member Sankar Prasad Datta pressed for division of votes after moving his amendment on enhancing compensation in accident cases, his amendment was defea ted by 37 votes in favour and 221 against.
Gadkari said it would not be possible to increase the third-party compensation in case of death to Rs 20 lakh as it would entail substantial hike in insurance premiums.
“Once we (BJP) complete five years, we would be able to save 50% of lives lost due to road accidents. We are working towards it,“ road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said while insisting during his reply in the lower House that the basic aim of the bill is “to save human lives“.Annually , at least 5 lakh road crashes take place claiming around 1.5 lakh lives.
Organisations that have been campaigning for a stronger law have welcomed the passage of the Bill.
Drivers of big-vehicles can’t always be liable
It is high time that all stakeholders reviewed the mindset that driver of the bigger vehicle is responsible in road accidents involving big and small vehicles, as seen in a majority of FIRs registered, the Madras HC has said.
The court was hearing an appeal by Pudukottai transport corporation challenging the order of motor accidents claims tribunal (MACT) that had awarded compensation to an accident victim. The deceased Govindaraju was going to school along with three of his friends, Venkateshwaran, Prasanth and Gowthamanraj, on a two-wheeler in Pudukottai in 2011. Prasanth, who was riding, attempted to overtake a lorry when a speeding government bus which came in the opposite direction collided with the two-wheeler and Govindaraju died.
The MACT had awarded a compensation of Rs 6.62lakh in 2015 holding the bus driver responsible for the accident. Challenging the order, the transport corporation preferred the present appeal. The transport corporation counsel submitted that the person driving the two-wheeler had tried to overtake the lorry without noticing the bus, thus inviting the accident. Also, four people were travelling on the two-wheeler and since the deceased also contributed to the accident, he was liable for contributory negligence.
Justice K Murali Shankar observed that two-wheelers are designed for only two people to travel and anyone taking more than two will be committing an offence and is punishable under MV Act.
The judge observed that it is high time for all who are dealing with motor accident claims to review the mentality in considering the plight of the injured victim or legal heirs of deceased victim sympathetically and awarding compensation in accidents which occurred by violating laws. In this case, since four students were on two-wheeler, the court held that the rider and all pillion riders are guilty of negligence. Partially allowing the appeal, the judge directed the claimants to bear 50% of the amount awarded by the tribunal for contributory negligence.
Driver should not lose control even if other driver not driving properly
In no situation should a driver lose control over vehicle: Court
A driver is not expected to lose control over his vehicle even if another driver is not driving properly , a tribunal court has said while awarding Rs 19.60-lakh compensation to the widow, minor children and parents of a vegetable seller who died in a road accident. The victim, Jugendra, was accused of driving his rickshaw-cart on the wrong side. The tribunal also pointed out that Jugendra's rickshaw-cart was on the extreme right side of the road, whereas the car which hit it had considerable road width available for driving his vehicle.
Jugendra, 28, died of head injuries on October 28, 2016 when a car rammed him. The erring driver, however, contended that the deceased was driving his cart on the wrong side of the road and it was the victim who hit the car.The insurance company with which the car was insured asserted that the accident took place due to the vegetable seller's negligence.
“Even if it is accepted, for the sake of arguments, that the deceased was moving with his rickshaw-cart on the wrong direction of the road, it cannot be brushed aside that rickshaw-cart is a slow moving vehicle...,“ said the motor accident claims tribunal (MACT) presiding officer Sanjay Sharma.
Religious organisation can be legal heir of a deceased member
[In a 1st, HC lets religious head to be legal heir of dead nun Suresh.Kumar TNN| In a 1st, HC lets religious head to be legal heir of dead nun | The Times of India]
In a first, the Madras high court recognised a religious organisation as the legal heir of a deceased person, and declared it eligible to receive compensation in a motor accident claims case.
Justice A M Basheer Ahamed permitted St Maria Auxilum Sisters’s Congress, represented by its mother general Sister Animariya, to claim compensation for the death of Sister Alangara Mary.
On March 1, 2002, Mary died in a road accident. Claiming the death occurred due to rash driving of the bus, the Sisters’s Congress in which Mary was a member approached the motor accident tribunal for ex gratia.
Traffic offenders tobe tried under both IPC, MV Act: SC
The Supreme Court has held that those violating traffic rules and causing accidents by rash and negligent driving could be tried and punished separately under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), besides the Motor Vehicles Act.
Setting aside a Gauhati high court ruling that provisions of IPC cannot be invoked against traffic rule violators and they could be punished only under the MV Act, a bench of Justices Indu Malhotra and Sanjiv Khanna said ingredients of offences under both statutes are different and an offender can be tried and punished independently under them.
It said the principle that the MV Act, being a special law, should prevail over the general law has no application in cases of prosecution of offenders in road accidents under both the IPC and the MV Act.
The bench said the MV Act is a beneficial legislation whose primary objective is to provide a statutory scheme for compensation of victims of accidents, while the IPC is punitive and deterrent in nature and its main objective is to punish offenders.
Loss to family due to accident deaths can’t be quantified: SC
The court said keeping IPC out of traffic rule violation cases would lead to anomalous situation as the accused could be let off lightly since offences under the MV Act are compoundable in nature and no proceedings would be initiated if the accused pleads guilty and deposits the fine imposed. It also said there is no provision under the MV Act to deal separately with offences causing death or grievous hurt.
“If the IPC gives way to the MV Act and the provisions of CrPC succumb to provisions of the MV Act as held by the HC, even cases of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing death or grievous hurt or simple hurt by rash and negligent driving would become compoundable. Such an interpretation would have the consequence of letting an offender get away with a fine by pleading guilty, without having to face any prosecution for the offence committed,” the bench said.
“This court has emphasised on the need to strictly punish offenders responsible for causing accidents. The financial loss, emotional and social trauma caused to a family on losing a bread-winner, or any other member cannot be quantified,” it said.
Tyre burst causing accident is not rash driving
Mumbai: Finding that in an incident where an accident occurs after a vehicle’s tyre bursts, it cannot be termed as rash and negligent driving, a magistrate court on Tuesday acquitted a 36-year-old Malabar Hill woman who was booked in 2017 for ramming into a biker and leaving him with a fractured hand, reports Rebecca Samervel. The court said that the possibility of a technical fault cannot be ruled out. “If the tyre of a running vehicle burst naturally and the driver of the vehicle lost balance. It is a technical fault and if an accident occurs due to a tyre burst it certainly cannot be termed as rash and negligent driving,” metropolitan magistrate Nadeem A Patel said. The woman, Indu Kapahi, was acquitted form charges relating to rash driving and causing grievous hurt by act endangering the life or personal safety of others. The victim Suryakant Rathod submitted that on July 19, 2017, at about 11. 10am while he was going towards Grant Road from Nawrojee Gamadia Road on his motorcycle, he was riding at a slow speed. However, the car rammed into him from behind. Rathod alleged that the car was at high speed due to which he fell down. The investigating officer told the court that during the course of investigations it was revealed that the tyre of the car had burst.
2017/ SC wants road safety policy, dedicated safety funds
Put Safety Policy, Fund In Place: SC
Expressing distress that there’s one death every three minutes in road accidents in India, but legal heirs of only half of the victims receive compensation, the Supreme Court has issued a slew of directions to states to set up a road safety policy as well as dedicated safety funds.
The directions came after the SC took note of the heavy toll of human lives due to road accidents, with 139,671 deaths in 2014 and 146,133 in 2015. Though insurance companies paid Rs 11,480 crore as compensation in 2015-16, half the legal claimants of remuneration did not get their due.
Frame road safety policies by Jan 31, defaulting states told
The SC found Delhi, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and two other UTs to be odd ones out as they have not formed a road safety policy. Accepting amicus curiae Gaurav Agrawal’s request, the SC directed defaulting states and UTs to frame policies by January 31. The bench said states which have not done so should set up a road safety fund by March 31, 2018.
The SC agreed with Agrawal that one of the main reasons for accidents was poor quality of roads, improper design and inadequate curve, angle and depth which was needed to be maintained at crucial junctions and said the Centre should review protocols for design.
The grim death toll forced the Supreme Court on Thursday to issue directions to bolster road safety measures. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said huge amounts running into hundreds of crores of rupees have been earmarked for road safety, yet accidents cause a very large number of deaths every year.
The bench said: “There was one death almost every three minutes due to road accidents. Unfortunately, the legal heirs of half the victims were not compensated (perhaps being unaware of their entitlement).”
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Lokur stressed on the creation of a road safety fund from the money collected from traffic violators. “States and UTs which have not yet established a road safety fund should do so not later than March 31, 2018 and report back to the committee on road safety (headed by retired SC Judge KS Radhakrishnan). The corpus of the road safety fund will be from the fines collected for traffic violations and the fund will be utilised for meeting expenses relating to road safety,” he said.
Delhi is again a defaulter among states and UTs with regard to setting up of a road safety fund, which has already been established by Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The court also criticised states and UTs for their lukewarm response to put in place a road safety action plan to reduce the number of accidents and fatality rates. It directed them to do so latest by March 31, 2018.
“The ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) is of the opinion that the protocol for road design and identification of black spots needs to be reviewed and enforced. Accordingly, it is directed that MoRTH should publish a protocol for identification and rectification of black spots and take necessary steps for improving the design of roads to make them safe,” the bench said.
The SC also felt MoRTH needs to undertake road safety audits urgently as it was essential to reduce the possibility of accidents. The ministry as well as the amicus agreed that road safety audit should include design stage audit of new road projects of five or more kilometres. Road design audit earlier applied only to mega road projects.
Asking state and UT governments to strictly implement lane-driving rules, the SC asked the governments to set up at least one trauma care centre in every district “since it is on record that treatment soon after a road accident is crucial for saving the life of a victim”.
2021, SC: Value of homemaker’s work same as husband’s
The Supreme Court said the value of a woman’s work at home was no less than that of her office-going husband and enhanced the compensation to relatives of a couple who died when a car hit their scooter in April 2014 in Delhi.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana and Surya Kant enhanced the compensation by Rs 11.20 lakh to Rs 33.20 lakh to be paid to the father of the deceased man by the insurance company with 9% annual interest from May 2014.
Justice Ramana expanded the idea first espoused by the SC in Lata Wadhwa case in 2001 when it had dealt with the issue of compensation for victims of a fire during a function and had ruled that it should be granted to housewives on the basis of services rendered by them in the house. He said as per the 2011 Census, nearly 159.85 million women mentioned “household work” as their main occupation, as against only 5.79 million men. He also referred to a recent report of the National Statistical Office titled ‘Time Use in India-2019’ which suggested that, on an average, women spend nearly 299 minutes a day on unpaid domestic services for household members versus 97 minutes by men.
Similarly, in a day, women spend 134 minutes on unpaid caregiving services for household members as compared to 76 minutes by men. The total time spent on these activities per day makes the picture in India even clearer — women on an average spend 16.9% and 2.6% of their day on unpaid domestic services and unpaid caregiving services for household members respectively, while men spend 1.7% and 0.8&, Justice Ramana said. “The sheer amount of time and effort that is dedicated to household work by individuals, who are more likely to be women than men, is not surprising when one considers the plethora of activities a homemaker undertakes. A homemaker often prepares food for the entire family, manages the procurement of groceries and other household shopping needs, cleans and manages the house and its surroundings, undertakes decoration, repairs and maintenance work, looks after the needs of the children and any aged member of the household, manages budgets and so much more,” he said.
In rural households, they often also assist in sowing, harvesting and transplanting activities in farms, apart from tending cattle, he said. The issue of fixing notional income for a homemaker, therefore, served an extremely important function and was a recognition of the multitude of women engaged in this activity, whether by choice or as a result of social/ cultural norms, the SC said.
“It signals to society at large that the law and courts of the land believe in the value of the labour, services and sacrifices of homemakers. It is an acceptance of the idea that these activities contribute in a very real way to the economic condition of the family, and the economy of the nation, regardless of the fact that it may have been traditionally excluded from economic analyses. It is a reflection of changing attitudes and mindsets and of our international law obligations. And, most importantly, it is a step towards the constitutional vision of social equality and ensuring dignity of life to all individuals,” the bench said.
SC: If accident victim disabled 100%, be liberal with damages
New Delhi: Remarking that courts should take a liberal view in awarding compensation to victims who are left 100% disabled and also suffer mental disabilities after road accidents, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended its helping hand to one such child and awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation with 7. 5% interest per annum. The total amount could come to about Rs 1 crore as the accident took place in 12 years ago. Abench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said a child who suffers severe disability is to be compensated also for the loss of marriage prospects and loss of income which he would have earned after attending majority and that amount be decided on the basis of minimum wage fixed by the state government for skilled labours. In this case, the child had met with a very serious accident in 2010 when he was five years old. He was not able to move both his legs after the accident and had complete sensory loss in the legs, urinary incontinence and bowel constipation. He became bed-bed ridden and dependent on others. Referring to SC’s earlier verdict, the bench said, “. . . the courts or the tribunals assessing the compensation in a case of 100% disability, especially where there is mental disability also, should take a liberal view of the matter when awarding the compensation”.
Taking into account his medical condition, the bench enhanced the compensation amount more than three times from Rs 13. 46 lakh awarded by the Karnataka HC, which did not grant compensation on the count of loss of marriage prospects and loss of future earnings due to disability. The SC awarded Rs 49. 93 lakh compensation, out of which Rs 11. 18 lakh was given for loss of future earnings and Rs 3 lakh for loss of marriage prospects.
“. . . In view of the physical condition, the appellant is en- titled to one attendant for the rest of his life though he may be able to walk with the help of an assistant device. The device also requires to be replaced every five years. Therefore, it is reasonable to award cost of two devices, i. e. Rs. 10 lakh. The appellant has not only lost his childhood but also adult life,” it said.
The bench calculated loss of income on the basis of minimum wage prevailing in Karnataka in 2010 for skilled labour, which was Rs 3,700 per month, with 40% for future prospects. “Thus, the compensation works out to be Rs 3,700 plus 40%, which amounts to Rs 5180 per month. The multiplier of 18 would be applicable in view of the age of the appellant. The loss of future earnings due to the permanent disability for life thus works out to be Rs 11,18,880,” it said.
The court said out of the total amount, Rs1 0 lakh would be disbursed to his father and the rest of the amount would be invested in one or more fixed deposits receipts and the interest amount shall be payable to his guardian every month.
Bar the drunk from driving: Bombay HC
The Times of India Jan 08 2016
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
The Bombay high court directed the Centre to consider adopting a “zero tolerance policy“ towards drunk driving and make appropriate changes in the law.
Observing that “too many lives had been lost“ to the “lethal cocktail“ of drinking and driving, a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Gautam Patel recommended action against those driving under the influence irrespective of the amount of alcohol in blood. At present, motorists with alcohol exceeding 30mg per 100ml of blood are liable to be charged under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
“We find nothing to suggest that some quantity of alcohol in the blood can be considered `safe',“ said the judges, adding that there was no fundamental right to drink. The HC also asked the state government to direct the police and transport authorities to immediately suspend driving licences of persons against whom DUI cases are registered. Driving licences are being suspended for three months for drunk driving since January 1 in the city.
Calling the permissible alcohol limits prescribed in the law as theoretical, the judges added: “There is, in fact, no reason why any person who has had any amount to drink should be permitted to drive at all. Given the alternatives available, and having regard to the manifest risks especially to third parties, we would strenuously urge the adoption by the Central government of a zero tolerance policy toward drunk driving.“
The high court said there was no fundamental right to drink, “let alone to drink any amount and then get behind the wheel of a motor car or on to a two-wheeler. Even the most minute impairment caused by alcohol intake might have the most disastrous consequences“.
MP: Drunk drivers in fatal accidents may get life
Drunk drivers in fatal accidents may get life
Madhya Pradesh police has asked investigating officers (IOs) to book drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents under Section-304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), which attracts a jail term of up to life imprisonment.
Till now, such accused were generally booked under 304A (death due to negligence), which attracts a jail term of up to two years or fine or both. However, there have been few exceptional cases such as the infamous hit and run case involving actor Salman Khan, when police slapped Section-304.
In a circular, MP police has said that in fatal accidents where there is proof against the driver of being drunk, the IO can take action under Section 304. It said there have been a rise in the number of road fatalities due to drunk driving and the SC-appointed panel on road safety has asked for reducing deaths by cracking down on such drivers. The circular said that in all accidents where drivers are booked under Section-304A, they must undergo medical test and the report must be kept for record. It added that the IO must also find out from the medical officer whether there is alcohol content in the blood of the accused.
Section-304, which deals with punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, says the accused shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or jail of up to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine. According to the latest road accident data, 4,776 persons died and 11,776 were injured in accidents caused due to driving under the influence in 2017.
Only 25% of blame on drunk driver who dies in mishap
A motor accident claims tribunal recently held that if you are drunk and die in an accident, your contributory negligence in the accident amounts to just 25%; the rest of the blame lies with the other party .
The tribunal's reasoning came while deciding the 2008 case of a 33-year-old drunk biker who was killed after a BMC dumper truck rammed into his two-wheeler. At the time of the fatal accident, the biker was riding with two others on Holi.
The civic body has now been ordered to pay a total compensation of Rs 38.1 lakh to the biker's kin. The tribunal held that driver of the heavy vehicle was “more responsible for causing the accident“.
Referring to the FIR, the tribunal said, “The deceased was under the influence of alcohol when he was riding the motorcycle but, at the same time, the driver of the dumper was duty-bound to control his vehicle.“
While calculating the compensation, the tribunal kept in mind the victim's an nual income of Rs 1.4 lakh and loss of future earnings.
It stated that compensation payable to the family was Rs 24.75 lakh. However, while deducting 25% towards the victim's contributory negligence, the tribunal brought down the figure to Rs 18.6 lakh. Additionally, the compensation amount also includes Rs 1 lakh towards loss of companionship of a spouse, Rs 1 lakh towards the loss of love and affection suffered by the mother and son and Rs 50,000 for loss of estate and towards funeral expenses incurred. The total amount of Rs 21 lakh also attracts an annual simple interest, bringing the total amount to Rs 38.1 lakh.
The application for compensation was filed in June 2008 by six members of the victim, Pravin Mane's family, including his wife, minor son, mother and siblings.
The victim ran a garment business at the time of his death. The family told the tribunal that the accident took place on March 22, 2008, around 2.15pm. They claimed that while Mane was riding the bike with due care and caution at a moderate speed, the truck rammed into it at full speed in a rash and negligent manner. Mane sustained multiple injuries and died on the way to the hospital.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) denied that the driver, on his way from the Deonar dumping ground to collect garbage from Vikhroli, was rash and negligent.
BMC alleged that the driver had given a signal before taking a left turn. It alleged that at that time, Mane's bike came at high speed from the opposite direction and collided with the front and middle portion of the truck. “All the three riders seated on the motorcycle were under the influence of alcohol and so the accident occurred solely due to the negligence of the deceased as he could not control his motor cycle,“ the BMC submitted.
Liability of car owner
If car sold but ownership not changed
If you sold your car and did not bother to change the ownership in registration records, you would be liable for compensation claims arising from accidents involving the vehicle even if another person owned and drove the car, the Supreme Court ruled.
This painful legal truth dawned upon Vijay Kumar, who had sold his car to another person on July 12, 2007. That person further sold the car on September 18, 2008. This third owner sold the car to one Naveen Kumar, who claimed before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal that he had sold it to one Meer Singh.
‘Court can’t render decision contrary to law’
While the car was allegedly in possession of fifth owner Meer Singh but driven by another person, an accident took place on May 27, 2009, in which one person was killed. The tribunal awarded a compensation of Rs 3.85 lakh and ordered the orginal buyer Vijay Kumar, whose name figured in the registration certificate, to be jointly liable with the driver of the car.
Vijay Kumar challenged this order before the Punjab and Haryana high court. A single judge bench allowed the appeal saying the original owner need not be held liable when there was clear evidence of sale of vehicle and the last owner admitted ownership. One of the successive owners, through advocate Rishi Malhotra, challenged the HC judgment in the SC and said the court could not render a decision contrary to law.
Motor Accident Claims Tribunal
2019/ Woman gets ₹26L after losing leg in mishap, ₹2L for loss of marriage hope
In a recent payout of Rs 28 lakh awarded to a 34-year-old woman who lost a limb in an accident in 2015, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal included Rs 2 lakh in total compensation for “loss of future marriage prospects”.
The tribunal observed that of late, finding a suitable matrimonial match has become a herculean task for even a normal person and impossible for someone who has lost a leg. It relied on a Madras high court order, which said if a person remained unmarried, it was an altogether different matter, but if a person is compelled to remain a bachelor due to injuries sustained and consequent amputation, it would be “utmost agonising”.
“It was impossible for her to get a suitable groom. Therefore, she is entitled to Rs 2 lakh for loss of marital prospects. In addition to this, it would be reasonable to award compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the loss of amenities and pleasure of life, and Rs 2 lakh for her inability to attend social functions in future,” the tribunal said.
Other heads under which the payout was calculated included loss of income due to disability, special diet, conveyance and attendant charges, costs for an artificial limb and medical expenses.
Woman’s mom gets ₹16L for serious injuries
In the plea submitted before the tribunal in 2016, it was alleged that on November 14, 2015 about 3.30pm, when the woman and her mother were on their way to Thane in an autorickshaw driven by her father, a speeding SUV rammed into them at Kanjurmarg. The woman deposed in the tribunal and iterated the details of the incident.
Observing that her testimony was corroborated by documentary evidence which included the FIR, the tribunal said, “I have no hesitation to hold that applicant has proved that accident took place due to rash and negligent driving.”
In two other orders, the woman’s 54-year-old mother was awarded a compensation of around Rs 16 lakh for serious injuries suffered in the accident, and her 57-year-old father was awarded a payout of around Rs 60,000. The compensations will have to be paid by SBI General Insurance and the vehicle owner, Bhayandarbased Shree Tours & Travels.
2021/ ₹2cr for accident victim: HC, SC
A Supreme Court bench of Justices R Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy has dismissed an appeal filed by the National Insurance Company Limited against an order of the Madras HC that enhanced the compensation paid to the family of an accident victim by 1,700% from 10.4 lakh to 1.85 crore based on Form-16, salary slip and other tax papers filed by the victim’s family.
On October 14, 2013, Subash Babu, a 35-year-old manager of a private firm, was killed in an accident while driving a car from Perumanallur to Erode. His wife and other family members who were travelling with him escaped with injuries. His wife, an eyewitness, told Tiruppur motor accident claims tribunal that a van which was going in front of their car turned right without showing any signal and their car rammed against the van and her husband died in the impact.
The tribunal, however, fixed 75% contributory negligence on the victim based on police FIR, which blamed Babu for negligent driving, and awarded Rs10.4 lakh as compensation by fixing Babu’s monthly income at Rs 20,000 per month.
Aggrieved by the order, the family moved the HC. In August 2018, Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice Krishnan Ramasamy of the Madras HC quashed the order of the tribunal and held that since there was no rebuttal witness provided by the insurance company, the accident happened only due to the negligence of the van driver. Taking into consideration the victim’s tax records and pay slip, the court fixed the victim’s annual income at 12.3 lakh and computed the compensation to be paid by the insurance company as 1.85 crore.
Agreeing with the HC ruling, the Supreme Court bench said, “In view of such evidence on record, there is no reason to give weightage to the contents of the FIR. If any evidence before the tribunal runs contrary to the contents in the FIR, the evidence which is recorded before the tribunal has to be given weightage.”
Offences under the Motor Vehicle Act
Using Bluetooth phone while driving not an offence
Use of bluetooth for communication while driving and talking through a fixed phone on dashboard won’t be treated as a violation of Motor Vehicle Act norms. The road transport ministry is also likely to bring more clarity on the provision defining “use of hand-held device” while driving as more and more states/ UTs notify the specific fine for the offence.
The Delhi government last week fixed Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 fine for first and second offence for using “hand-held phone” while driving. Sources said representatives from Delhi Police had recently taken up the need to explain this provision in detail with the road transport ministry so that there is no ambiguity in the implementation of this provision.
However, road safety experts said drivers should avoid using phones in any form while driving since it distracts attention and is increasingly proving to be more fatal for drivers as also pedestrians.
Even countries like the United States have witnessed high number of deaths due to distracted driving, which claimed 2,841 lives in 2018 alone. Among those killed were 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists. Its highway safety agency, NHTSA even carried out an intensive campaign of “U Drive U Text U Pay” to crackdown on distracted driving.
Distracted driving has been described as driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. The Delhi government last week fixed Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 fine for first and second offence for using ‘hand-held phone’ while driving
Out of-court settlement cannot quash offence Sec 304A IPC:
Causing death due to rash and negligent driving is an offence against society and the offence cannot be quashed because of an outof-court settlement between the accused and the deceased victim's family , the Bombay high court has ruled.
The court was hearing a petition by Mahim resident Krishna Raju, who was booked for driving his motorcycle rashly and negligently , and knocking down Sinclair Valadares (70), who was crossing the street in 2015.
Valadares's two sons had filed affidavits saying they had no objection to quashing of the case against Raju.They said the accident was not due to rash driving by Ra ju, but their father had glanced back on seeing a heavy vehicle near the Mahim Causeway and dashed against the motorcycle.
The court refused to quash the chargesheet on the basis of the settlement between Raju and the Valadares family . “The offence under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code presents a situation where a victim has lost his life due to the rash and negligent act of the accused. The offence under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code is not an offence which is private, but is an offence which has serious impact on society as a whole.Hence, such an offence cannot be quashed as legal representatives of the deceased have entered into a settlement or compromise, or that they have given no objection for quashing,“ said a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai. “Quashing such a chargesheet for offence under Section 304A on the ground of compromise or settlement will militate against all cannons of law,“ the judges added.
Raju, however, obtained relief when the court went into the merits of the case.The accident had occurred on Gen Arunkumar Vaidya Road near Mahim Causeway at 2pm on March 25, 2015. The sole witness, a shopkeeper, had told police that the pedestrian reached near the divider but turned back on seeing a heavy vehicle coming from the opposite lane. He then lost his balance and dashed against the motorcycle.
“The material in the chargesheet, taken at its face value, does not indicate that Raju had driven the motorcycle in a rash or negligent matter, or that the death of the pedestrian was caused due to the accused's rash and negligent act,“ the court said while quashing the first information report and dropping all charges against Raju.
Compensation to victims/ their kin
Assistants’ cost must be factored in for compensation for accident-crippled
In an important ruling, the Supreme Court has said that crippled survivors of accidents while seeking compensation cannot be viewed by courts as a modern day Oliver Twist, having to make entreaties as the boy in the orphanage in Charles Dickens’s classic, “Please Sir, I want some more”.
A bench of Justices R S Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy said not only would the injured person be entitled to be compensated for all the bodily sufferings, future loss of earning and future medical care expenses, he/ she would also entitled to the cost of hiring assistants for leading a dignified life if he/she is unable to conduct the daily life without assistance. The bench enhanced the compensation to an accident survivor from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 28 lakh.
Writing the judgment, Justice Roy said, “A person therefore is not only to be compensated for the injury suffered due to the accident but also for the loss suffered on account of the injury and his inability to lead the life he led, prior to the life altering event.”
This ruling came in a case from Kerala, in which one Jithendran, while riding pillion on a motorcycle, was hit by a speeding car. He suffered multiple injuries in his body and head, leaving him almost a paraplegic, unable to conduct his daily life without assistance.
Justice Roy narrated the case of the 21-year-old Jithendran after he suffered injuries in the accident that happened in April 2001. “While the permanent disability as certified by the doctors stands at 69%,the same by no means, adequately reflects the travails the impaired claimant will have to face all his life,” the Supreme Court bench said.
Compensation a right of mishap victims: HC
Shibu Thomas, TNN | Aug 29, 2013
MUMBAI: Victims of road accidents and their next of kin have a right under law to claim compensation, the Bombay high court has ruled. Twenty-three years after a Yavatmal-based bank officer lost his life in a road accident involving an MSRTC bus, Justice A P Bhangale ordered the state transport undertaking to pay Rs 6.51 lakh, along with interest, to his wife and three children.
The judge threw out the MSRTC's contention that the deceased bank officer, Mukundrao Dongre (38), could not be categorized as a third party eligible for compensation under the third-party risk insurance rule.
"I find it difficult to accept the submission that the victim was a person 'other than third party'," said the judge. "The Motor Vehicle Act provides for mandatory third-party insurance, which is compulsory for any motor vehicle owner. The objective of the act is to ensure that the third party receives just and fair compensation from the owner of the offending motor vehicle and receives compensation."
The court said the law protects victims of road accidents. "The right of the victim of a road accident to claim compensation is statutory. The legislature in its wisdom enacted the (law) to protect the victims of road accidents, who may be travelling in the vehicle or using the road, and thereby made it obligatory that no motor vehicle shall be used unless the vehicle is compulsorily insured against third-party risk."
The court said the MSRTC could not escape paying compensation by claiming that the other vehicle was responsible for the accident. "If liability is denied, it is for the MSRTC to plead and prove rashness and negligence on the part of the driver of the jeep if according to it the jeep was the offending motor vehicle... Mere allegation is not enough."
Mere absence of or fake or invalid driving license or disqualification of the driver for driving at the relevant time are not in themselves defences available to the MSRTC against the third parties."
Compensation a right, not dole: SC
Criticising the traditional judicial mindset of doling out compensation to the kin of victims and those injured in motor vehicle accidents, the SC has ruled that award of compensation is an entitlement under law which must be commensurate with the pain and suffering of such victims.
“In a discourse of rights, they constitute entitlements under law. Our conversations about law must shift from paternalistic subordination of the individual to an assertion of enforceable rights as intrinsic to human dignity,” said a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Chandrachud set the tone of judicial computation of just compensation to the kin of accident victims and those injured by saying, “The measure of compensation must reflect a genuine attempt of the law to restore dignity of being. Our yardsticks of compensation should not be so abysmal as to lead one to question whether our law values human life. If it does, as it must, it must provide a realistic recompense for the pain of loss and the trauma of suffering.” The ruling came on Tuesday on a petition filed by one Jagdish, a carpenter by profession, who lost both his hands and suffered serious disability in an accident involving his motorcycle and a dumper in November, 2011. Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal at Kota, Rajasthan, awarded him a compensation of Rs 12.8 lakh. The Rajashthan HC enhanced it by Rs 2.2 lakh.
Courts can order more than sought: SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court said there is n o r estriction on a tribunal/ court to award compensation that exceeds the amount claimed by the victim’s family in road accident cases and awarded a solatium of Rs 5 lakh despite the family of a 12-year old boy who died in an accident claiming for Rs 2 lakh.
Enhancing the amount of compensation, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and J K Maheshwari said the amount should be just and reasonable as per law, irrespective of the amount claimed. “ . . . there is no restriction that the tribunal/court cannota ward compensation exceeding the amount so claimed. The tribunal/court ought to award ‘just’ compensation which is reasonable in the facts relying upon the evidence produced on record. Therefore, less valuation, if any, made in the claim petition would not be impediment to award just compensation exceeding the claimed amount,” the bench said while referring to apex court’ s earlier ruling. In this case, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) had awarded lump sum compensation of Rs 1. 5 lakh to the family which was enhanced to Rs 2 lakh by Jhar khand High Court, up to the value of the claim petition. Noting that the deceased was a brilliant student and was studying in a private school, the court said that his notional earning should be considered at Rs 30,000 per month for deciding loss of income for the family.
“In our view, the said amount of compensation is not just and reasonable looking at the computation made he rein above. Hence, we determine the total compensation as Rs 5 lakh,” the bench said.
Foetus: Death in mishap
Rs 2.5L relief for unborn child’s death in mishap
HC Compares Dead Foetus With Minor Child
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi: In an important ruling, the Delhi High Court has held that an unborn dead foetus can be considered on par with a minor child while fixing compensation. It directed an insurance company to pay extra compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to a man who lost his pregnant wife in a road accident in 2008.
HC allowed an appeal filed by one Prakash seeking compensation for his unborn child as his plea was ignored by the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT). The court, however, made it clear that the dead foetus cannot be compared with a grown-up child, because by then a child’s presence in the life of his or her parents has created enough memories for them to feel greater pain at the loss of their child. This pain will be lesser were an unborn child to die as in that case there will be no memories to cherish.
‘‘This court holds that an unborn child — aged five months onwards in mother’s womb till its birth — is treated as equal to a child... the foetus is another life in a woman and loss of foetus is actually loss of child in the offing,’’ HC reasoned, while allowing the appeal and the compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh along with an interest rate of 7.5 per annum to Prakash.
While the MACT had already awarded Rs 6.11 lakh to the petitioner for the accident in which his wife died with sevenmonth-old foetus in her womb, the tribunal had not taken into account the death of foetus as a factor.
HC directed the insurance company to deposit Rs 2 lakh with the UCO bank as fixed deposit within a month and release rest of the amount to the victim’s family.
On his part, the petitioner argued that the MACT Tribunal had ignored the plea on a ground that post-mortem report has not mentioned anything about the presence of foetus. The counsel argued the road accident took place on June 8, 2008 and the foetus was removed from the woman’s womb on June 17 and the mother died on August 14.
Clarifying that the foetus was absent at the time of the victim’s death, the lawyer submitted the statements of doctors from Shushruta Trauma Centre and LNJP who treated the woman soon after the accident and removed the foetus after the unborn baby died in the womb due to the accident.
Future prospects basis for payouts: SC
The ruling settles the controversy in the light of contradictory verdicts by different SC benches.
The bench, however, agreed that compensation for future prospects could not be same for all.
In a verdict intended to provide "just" compensation to victims of road accidents, the Supreme Court ruled that compensation will be based on the future prospects of a deceased person rather than only loss of present income.
A five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan framed guidelines for making an estimate of future prospects mandatory, irrespective of whether the victim had a permanent job or was self-employed. The amount under the head of future prospects has been capped at 50% of income in case of a permanent job and 40% in case of self-employed or a fixed salary job (where there is no provision for revision).
The ruling settles the controversy in the light of contradictory verdicts by different SC benches.
It also fixed compensation under the conventional heads of loss of estate, loss of consortium (deprivation of benefits of a family relationship) and funeral at Rs 15,000, Rs 40,000 and Rs 15,000, respectively. This is to be enhanced at the rate of 10% every three years.
"To follow the doctrine of actual income at the time of death and not to add any amount with regard to future prospects to the income for the purpose of determination of multiplicand would be unjust.
The determination of income while computing compensation has to include future prospects so that the method will come within the ambit and sweep of just compensation as postulated under Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act," the bench said.
"In case of a deceased who had held a permanent job with inbuilt grant of annual increment, there is an acceptable certainty. But to state that the legal representatives of a deceased who was on a fixed salary would not be entitled to the benefit of future prospects for the purpose of computation of compensation would be inapposite," it said.
The apex court said it is a wrong perception that compensation under the head of future prospects should not be given in case where the deceased was self-employed or having a fixed salary job.
"Though it may seem appropriate that there cannot be certainty in addition of future prospects to the existing income unlike in the case of a person having a permanent job, yet the said perception does not really deserve acceptance," the bench said.
It, however, agreed that compensation for future prospects could not be same for all and the amount granted to family members of a deceased who had a permanent job must be higher than for someone who is self-employed or on a fixed salary.
"In a case of death, the legal heirs of the claimants cannot expect a windfall. Simultaneously, the compensation granted cannot be an apology for compensation. It cannot be apittance," it said.
Future prospects of housewives
Ruling that compensation for “loss of future prospects” can also be granted in the case of a housewife’s death, a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) last week ordered the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) to pay around Rs 17 lakh to the husband and two minor children of a 33-year-old woman who was killed after a bus rammed into their bike at Mankhurd in 2014. “Loss of future prospects” is among the heads covered while awarding compensations in motor accident cases.
The tribunal fixed the deceased housewife’s notional salary at Rs 5,000 per month. A possible future increase in this notional monthly income was pegged at 40%, bringing the loss of future prospects to Rs 7,000 per month.
The tribunal cited a recent Supreme Court judgment and said, “The housewife who contributes for the welfare of the family and upbringing for the children must be given future prospects in as much as with the passage of time, the utility of her services increases in the family.” It stated that a housewife’s services to the family are invaluable. “The housewife renders very important duty. She looks after her husband and children passionately round the clock and creates the comfort zone in the house. In the absence of her in a house for a single day realises her importance (sic) to the other family members,” the tribunal said.
The tribunal refuted the defence that only when the housewife renders skilled services to the family does the question of future prospects come. It said that judgement does not make any distinction between a skilled and unskilled housewife. “In fact housewife is a housewife and with the passage of time her skill in tackling and handling household affairs increases,” the tribunal said, quoting the Supreme Court judgement.
While the victim’s husband and older son will each receive 30% of the compensation amount, the younger son will receive the remaining 40%.It however rejected Archana’s parentsin-law as claimants.
The motor claims tribunal fixed the housewife’s notional salary at Rs 5,000 per month. A future increase in this income was pegged at 40%, bringing the loss of future prospects to Rs 7,000 per month
The poor have future prospects too: HC
Even the poor and marginalised have “future prospects”, Delhi high court observed, asking an insurance company to immediately compensate the family of an accident victim who didn’t have a regular salary.
Justice R K Gauba took a dim view of the argument by the insurance company that the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) had wrongly hiked the compensation amount by including “future prospects” of the victim who wasn’t salaried.
The court pointed out that the insurer’s argument that such benefit of future prospects can be given only if their proven income ignores the ground realities. “If this argument were to be accepted, the marginal sections
of the society, who are unable to muster proof as to the nature of avocation or their earnings, will always be denied just compensation,” said Justice Gauba.
The judge emphasised that a rickshaw puller, cobbler, hawker, porter or similar other daily earner can perhaps never bring on record the proof of earning he brings home to his family at the end of each working day.
“Such labour class does not have resources to earn sufficiently and more often than not, cannot even dream of saving any money for the rainy day. They generally would not have access to a bank, from which they would be able to arrange proof, should the unfortunate need arise, as to the level of their earnings,” the court observed, wondering how this category can then satisfy the demand of an insurer to produce proof of income.
Even as the high court agreed to some of the other arguments of the insurer, Bajaj Alliance, it held it liable to pay Rs 12.26 lakh as compensation, partially modifying the award granted by the MACT court.
While calculating the amount, MACT, in absence of any evidence about the nature of job or earnings of Jitender Uppal, the victim, adopted the minimum wages payable to a matriculate as the notional income. It then added element of future prospects of increase to the extent of 50% and after usual deductions, including the age of Uppal being 31, announced the award of roughly Rs 13.8 lakh.
But the insurer cited Supreme Court rulings to argue that for the award, there should be income which is established by evidence. The benefit of future prospects cannot be extended in cases where there is no proof of the nature of employment of the victim or his income, it maintained.
HC answered the argument by specifying that SC has taken note of the fact that the category of self-employed persons may include even an unskilled labourer.
“The court has gone by the expression “income” and has not drawn a distinction between the income earned in the form of “salary” or one earned by any other mode. The income may accrue as profits from business, fee or remuneration (by whatever name called) from the professional services or wages earned by services rendered, even such services as are rendered through manual labour,” HC noted.
Financial aid to victim
Mar 03 2015
Increases compensation in HP case
SC: States must aid accident victim's kin if accused is poor
If death is caused by rash and negligent driving and the driver is unable to pay adequate compensation to the victim's family because of his poor financial status, the state government must step in and pay the amount, the Supreme Court has ruled. “We are of the view that where the accused is unable to pay adequate compensation, the court ought to have awarded compensation under Section 357A from the funds available under the Victim Compensation Scheme framed under the said section,“ a bench of Justices T S Thakur and A K Goel said.
It increased the amount of compensation awarded by the Himachal Pradesh high court to family members of a girl who died in a road accident from Rs 40,000 to Rs 4 lakh. Considering the poor financial condition of the convicted truck driver, the bench directed him to pay Rs 1 lakh and asked the state government to pay the remaining Rs 3 lakh.
The bench said if the driver failed to pay the amount, he had to undergo a six months' jail term and in that case the entire compensation of Rs 4 lakh would have to be paid by the state government.
“We modify the impugned order passed by the high court and enhance the compensation to be paid by the driver to Rs1 lakh to be paid within four months failing which the sentence awarded by the court of sessions shall stand revived,“ it said.
“In addition, we direct the state of Himachal Pradesh to pay an interim compensation of Rs 3 lakh. In case the driver fails to pay any part of the compensation, that part of compensation will also be paid by the state so that the heirs of the victim get total sum of Rs 4 lakh towards compensation. The amount already paid may be adjusted,“ the bench said.
Heirs can claim payout
Bengaluru : Legal heirs of a person injured in a vehicle accident have the statutory right to claim compensation after his/her death, the Karnataka high court has said.
The HC made the observation while hearing a petition from relatives of court official MBasavarajappa, who was injured in an autorickshaw accident. The medical papers issued by McGann Hospital, Shivamogga, states that he had afractured hip joint and socket and was hospitalised twice for more than 15 days and five days.
On July 19 last year, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarded Rs 1. 15 lakh as compensation. Unhappy with the amount, the claimant challenged the order, but died during pendency of the case. His family and legal representatives then fought his case.
Insurer New India Insurance Company said the appeal should close as the claimant had died while his case was yet to be settled. Rejecting the contention, Justice NS Sanjay Gowda directed the company to pay Rs 1. 75 lakh with 6% interest to the legal representatives of Basavarajappa.
“In respect of a claim under the Motor Vehicles Act, the victim of a motor vehicle accident acquires a statutory right to claim compensation. This statutory right to claim compensation under a special enactment cannot be subjected to any limitations that would be imposed in respect of a claim under the general law,” the judge said.
Marriage prospects lost. MACT: Pay victim for it
A 28-year-old city woman injured in a 2011 road mishap has been granted Rs 60.56 lakh as compensation by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT). In what is a rare instance, the MACT has included in the payout Rs 2 lakh for “loss of future marriage prospects“.
“It is clear that due to the injuries she has missed out on marriage prospects. Hence, an amount of Rs 2 lakh is awarded towards loss of marriage prospects,“ the tribunal said on Saturday . The woman, who was a grade A student doing her firstyear BCom, was knocked down by a speeding car on November 1, 2011, in front of her grandfather and sister, resulting in brain and pelvic injuries that needed hospitalisation for over a month. The injuries have now limited the woman's physical and mental capacities.
The woman filed an application before the tribunal in December 2011 against the alleged car owner, Less Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd, and the insurer, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co Ltd. The victim said while she was crossing the Sion-Trombay Road near Somaiya ground at around 8am on November 1, 2011, a car came from Chembur towards Sion in a “rash manner“ and hit her from behind, resulting in her serious injuries. After being treated at Sion Hospital, she was shifted to a hospital in her hometown Meerut, where she was admitted from December 9, 2011, till January 9, 2012. Her treatment continued at a specialised neurology hospital until October 2012.
The woman told the tribunal that due to the injuries, she was under severe pain and unable to do her daily work with the same stamina and power as prior to the accident.She also complained that she was unable to attend college.The doctor, who deposed on the nature of the injuries, explained that it was a “generalized injury to the brain, affecting motor function, thought function, memory and speech functions, leading to hampering of normal day-to-day activities“.
Mother-in-law, if Dependent, can get payout: SC
Holding that Motor Vehicles (MV) Act should be given a wider interpretation and all dependents of a deceased be allowed to claim compensation, the Supreme Court ruled that a dependent mother-in-law is also entitled to claim in case of death of her son-in-law.
“In our view, the term ‘legal representative’ should be given a wider interpretation for the purpose of Chapter XII of MV Act and it should not be confined only to mean the spouse, parents and children of the deceased. As noticed above, MV Act is a benevolent legislation enacted for the object of providing monetary relief to the victims or their families. Therefore, the MV Act calls for a liberal and wider interpretation to serve the real purpose underlying the enactment and fulfil its legislative intent,” a bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer adn Krishna Murari said.
“We are also of the view that in order to maintain a claim petition, it is sufficient for the claimant to establish his loss of dependency. Section 166 of the MV Act makes it clear that every legal representative who suffers on account of the death of a person in a motor vehicle accident should have a remedy for realisation of compensation,” it said while setting aside an order of Kerala HC order precluding a motherin-law as legal representative of the deceased despite her living with her daughter’s family for a long time and being dependent on him.
The bench said, “It is not uncommon in Indian society for the mother-in-law to live with her daughter and son-in--law during her old age and be dependent upon her son-in--law for her maintenance. The Appellant herein may not be a legal heir of the deceased, but she certainly suffered on account of his death.”
Sell uninsured vehicles to pay victims: SC, 2018
The Supreme Court ordered all states to amend their rules under the Motor Vehicles Act whereby uninsured motor vehicles involved in accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, will be auctioned and the proceeds deposited with the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) to pay compensation to victims.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice DY Chandrachud directed the states to amend their rules within 12 weeks. At present, this rule is there only in Delhi.
The court was hearing a plea by an accident victim’s wife who contended that the Motor Vehicles Act made third-party insurance mandatory for vehicles and it was an offence to drive an uninsured vehicle.
Advocate Radhika Gautam, appearing for petitioner Usha Devi, said that the mandate behind the law was that the family of those killed or injured in accidents should not be made to litigate for years to get compensation from the owner/driver of the involved vehicle. The Act intended that the kin of those killed or injured could approach MACT for speedy adjudication of claims and direction to insurance companies to pay up, the plea said.
Devi’s husband was killed in a road accident in January 2015 while her son was injured. She moved the MACT to seek compensation, but the tribunal found that the rogue vehicle was uninsured.
Walking on footpath, not road, partly causes the accident
Tribunal Cuts Damages To Accident Victim
If you are hit by a vehicle while walking on the road instead of the footpath, you share the blame for the accident. A Motor Accidents' Claims Tribunal has held a 27-year-old CA accountable for 25% contributory negligence after a speeding car hit her and ran over her foot on a Mumbai road in 2011.
She had sought Rs 25 lakh in compensation for, among other things, her injuries and income lost on account of six months' bed rest, but the tribunal calculated the payout as Rs 5.14 lakh. Deducting Rs 1.28 lakh towards contributory negligence, it ordered Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd and car owner Devidas Raimalani to pay her Rs 3.85 lakh. The car owner and insurance firm will also have to pay her Rs 2 lakh as interest.
The woman, in her cross-examination before the tribunal, had claimed there was no footpath close to where she was walking. But the tribunal referred to the panchnama, which showed the accident site was three feet from the footpath. “There is no doubt that to the side of the road there was a footpath, but the petitioner was not using the footpath. On the contrary , she was walking on the tar road. Therefore, certainly , there was some negligence on the part of the petitioner,“ the tribunal held.Talking of the driver's role, it said that as the road was crowded, it was his duty to drive cautiously and maintain adequate distance from the woman.
Among the factors on which the compensation was calculated, the tribunal included Rs 1 lakh towards the loss of the woman's marriage prospects. It noted the limp ensuing from the accident adversely affected her marriage prospects.
According to the woman's submission, on January 4, 2011, around 2.05pm, then aged 20, she was walking with a when a speeding car came from behind, without so much as a horn in warning, and hit her. She stated that she was admitted to a hospital for six days, and had to undergo bone-realignment surgery for her foot.
SC: Payout should be ₹2 lakh
Frame Rules, Court Tells Stakeholders
The Supreme Court accepted the recommendation of the court-appointed committee on road safety to increase the minimum compensation for death in a hit and-run case from the existing Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh and asked all stakeholders, including the Centre, to hold consultations for framing a scheme of payment.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde, Deepak Gupta and Vineet Saran said the present amount of compensation is too less and the law should be amended to enhance the amount. It said the recommendations made by the committee headed by its retired judge Justice K S Radhakrishnan were reasonable and could be implemented till the law is amended. As per the report, a minimum compensation of Rs 50,000 should be paid to any one grievously injured in a hit-and-run case.
Advocate Gaurav Agrawal, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, told the bench that a fund of Rs 90 crore was lying with General Insurance Council for disbursal to victims of hit-and-run cases and that the amount should be used for the payment of compensation. He said out of around 1.60 lakh deaths reported in road mishaps in India in 2016, around 20,000 people had died in hitand-run accidents.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand informed the bench that the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Parliament and was passed by Lok Sabha but it is pending in Rajya Sabha. She said the bill proposed to enhance the amount of compensation for victims of hit-and-run case.
The bench thereafter asked Agrawal to hold consultations with all stakeholders including Centre and General Insurance Council to frame a scheme of payment of compensation to ensure that the amount is paid to the right claimant.
The bench also suggested that the payment of compensation should be streamlined and victims should not be harassed to get the benefit. It said the FIR registered by police about a road accident should be sufficient to award compensation to the victim or the family even if no formal claim petition is filed. It said a copy of the FIR should be immediately sent to the authority concerned to disburse the amount to victims.
The apex court had on April 22, 2014, constituted the committee headed by Justice Radhakrishnan, which has submitted several reports on road safety.
The compensation under hit-and-run cases are made from a Solatium Fund which is contributed by general insurance industry under an agreed formula. As per the present procedure, the victim or his legal representative has to make an application to the claim enquiry officer in each Taluka. After due enquiries, the officer submits a report together with certificate of post mortem or injury certificate to the claims settlement commissioner who will process the claims and sanction the payment within 15 days from the receipt of report from the officer.
‘A housewife/ homemaker is a skilled worker’
`Housewife a skilled worker': The Times of India, May 01 2017
A housewife renders services of a skilled worker, a Delhi court has observed.
The observation was made by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal while awarding the compensation of Rs 30.63 lakh to a 32-year-old homemaker who lost one of her legs in a road accident four years ago.
The woman, who was crossing a road with her six-month old son in 2013, got hit by a rashly-driven RTV and suffered 80% disability while the child suffered head injury .
“A housewife renders services as a skilled workman... Since the disability suffered by the claimant is 80% with regard to right lower limb, loss qua the entire body will be 40%...“ presiding officer of the tribunal Arun Bhardwaj said.
Homemakers’ Contribution recognised
“A wife or a mother does not work by the clock,“ a court observed while recognising the contribution of a homemaker, who died in an accident five years ago. The court awarded Rs 19 lakh as compensation towards “loss of love and affec tion“ for the victim's kin.
Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) presiding officer Kiran Bansal said, “In India, courts have recognised the contribution made by the wife to the house is invaluable and cannot be computed in terms of money .“ It noted that the “gratuitous services“ rendered by the wife, with true lo ve and affection, to her children and husband while managing the household affairs could not be equated with services rendered by others.
The tribunal made the observations while hearing claim petitions filed by the family members of 38-year-old Shakuntala, who died in a car-truck collision on August 13, 2012. Her daughter, Renu, who was 17 then, sustained injuries and remained in hospital for nine days. The mother and daughter were on their way to Aligarh from Delhi and were travelling by car when a truck, rushing at breakneck speed, hit their car. Truck driver Ramesh Chand denied any invol vement in the accident, saying he was falsely implicated in the case.
The UP State Road Transport Corporation, under which the bus plied on a contractual basis, accused the car diver of being negligent and argued that truck was parked when the car, being rashly driven, hit it. The tribunal, however, relied on the statement of the victim's husband Suresh Chand, who had given details of the accident and furnished relevant documents.
The victim's daughter, Renu, had filed a separate petition, citing loss of time hampering her education that also jeopardised her future prospects.
It praised the women who took care of their family throughout day and night. Therefore, after considering the victim's age and the loss of love and affection to her four children and husband, the tribunal awarded them Rs 18 lakh as compensation. He daughter, on the other hand, was granted Rs 1.71 lakh, among other entitlements, for pain and suffering. “She is entitled to the loss of study for a period of three months,“ the tribunal said.
The direction for the re spective compensations was given to the insurance company with which the truck was insured.
Homemakers’ Contribution calculated
Calculating the compensation for the family of a 35-year-old housewife killed in an accident, a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal used as benchmark a domestic help’s salary.
The Mumbai tribunal arrived at the figure of Rs 4,500 per month after taking into consideration the prevailing pay of a help for chores such as doing the dishes and sweeping. “This income was quantified by considering and comparing the roundthe-clock household services rendered by the deceased to her family vis-a-vis the cost of a maid,” it said.
It thus ordered motorcycle owner Ajinkya Khupte and Oriental Insurance Company to pay victim Fatima Khan’s husband Mohammed and their four minor kids a compensation of Rs 5.5 lakh.
On September 11, around 8pm, Fatima was crossing a road when a speeding bike hit her. Fatima suffered serious injuries and was taken to JJ hospital, where she died a day later. Mohammed moved the tribunal in November 2012. He claimed the accident was the result of the biker’s gross negligence and rashness, and sought Rs 6 lakh as compensation.
The other factors considered in the tribunal’s calculation included loss of consortium (the right of association and companionship with one’s spouse and funeral expenses. The tribunal said Rs 50,000 was to be given to Mohammed, and the rest to their children.
The tribunal refuted the insurance company’s submission that, since Fatima was not earning, compensation could not be paid by assuming her notional income. It cited a Supreme Court order that said the notional income of a housewife was to be taken as up to Rs 5,000 per month, and that the services rendered by a mother, sister and wife were immensely valuable and unparalleled, and could not be calculated in terms of money since they were rooted in love and affection. The death of such a female member created a great vacuum in the family, it added.
“Even though one cannot equate and compare the services of wife, mother and sister with the services rendered by a maid servant, the hard reality of life causes me to imagine the charges of a regular maid servant to calculate the notional income of this deceased mother,” the tribunal head said.
The tribunal relied on the FIR and the statement of Fatima’s brother-in-law, an eyewitness, to establish the biker’s fault. “The motorcycle rider was in control of running the vehicle and he was expected to take care of pedestrians, particularly women, children and senior citizens on road. Therefore, I conclude that it is due to the rash and negligent riding of the said motorcycle, deceased Fatima died,” the tribunal held.
Hearing a plea for compensation, a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal took into account the prevailing pay of a help for doing the dishes and sweeping
(The year-wise position of accidents)
The compilation of data
‘Official data does not capture the real picture?’
Around 5,400 people died in only 8,800 road accidents in Bihar while 4,300 people were killed in 6,000 accidents in Punjab last year. Compare this with Kerala or Madhya Pradesh where the ratio of accidents to fatalities was wide unlike the first two states.
This huge difference in the ratio of accidents to fatalities has exposed how state police might be registering only those cases where someone is killed or left with major injury, and not every accident reported to them. Capturing the actual data is going to be a major area of thrust during the National Road Safety Week, which will kick off on Monday.
The issue came up at two recent recent meetings of state transport secretaries and ministers. “The group of transport ministers (GoM) which met last week was informed how official data could be misleading and there is a need to work on this issue,” an official said.
Traffic and transport experts have been highlighting how official data on road accidents do not capture the real picture and making policies or strategies based on flawed data could hardly bring any improvement.
The data for 2017 shows Delhi recorded only 6,637 accidents despite the national capital having the highest number of vehicles. “The data provided by most states is rubbish. How can one accept that states like Bihar, UP or Delhi have such few accidents? Police simply don’t report them. Unless we bring reform and there is proper recording of accidents and their causes, the entire exercise is futile,” said Rishi Raj Singh, former transport commissioner of Kerala.
Kerala and Madhya Pradesh are the only states where a police officer is appointed as transport commissioner.
Road safety expert Rohit Baluja said faulty accident data has not helped in coming out with solutions. “We have to make the data collection system robust with proper investigation of accidents to zero down on the causes to find solutions,” he added. Over one-tenth of road deaths in the world happen in India.
2012-17: road accidents and casualties
See graphic. Rail accidents and casualties, 2012-17
2013: Road accidents and Mortality Rate
Road accidents and mortality rate, 2013, India and the world
2014: Road accidents
2014: Road accidents, Delhi
The Times of India, Jul 19 2015
16 lives lost every hour, India's roads deadliest ever in 2014
Delhi had the worst record among cities32% died on roads, 7% in ops: NCRB
Indian roads were at their deadliest in 2014 claiming more than 16 lives every hour on an average.Over 1.41 lakh people died in accidents, 3% more than the number of fatalities in 2013.The numbers of crashes and of people left injured -at 4.5 lakh and 4.8 lakh -were also at the highest levels since the recording of such data started in India. According to the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), speeding and danger ous driving were the biggest reasons for road fatalities. Accidents involving two-wheelers and lorries accounted for nearly half of the lives lost in road crashes.
Among 53 mega cities, Delhi registered the highest number of fatalities at 2,199. It was followed by Chennai (1,046), Bhopal (1,015) and Jaipur (844).
While 13,787 two-wheeler drivers were killed in crashes, 23,529 other people were killed in accidents involving these vehicles, while close to 1.4 lakh people were left injured. Speeding accounted for about 1.7 lakh crashes and nearly 49,000 deaths. Dangerouscareless driving or overtaking claimed another 42,000-plus lives in 1.4 lakh crashes.
Most deaths in UP, P 18 Over four times more paramilitary personnel die in road accidents than fighting terrorists or Maoists. New National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data show that of 1,232 central armed police force (CAPF) deaths in 2014, 32% were due to road accidents while only 7% were due to operations against terrorists. As many 175 committed suicide while 12 died in fratricide.
According to the data, 32.1%, 8.4% and 7.2% casualties in CAPFs were due to roadrailways accidents, natural calamities and killed in action operationencounteretc. respectively .
This is the first time government has specifically collected data on deaths of paramilitary personnel and assigned them various causes.The forces include BSF, CRPF, SSB, NSG, ITBP , CISF and As sam Rifles which have a cumulative strength of 9.27 lakh.
There have been forcespecific studies done earlier but never a comprehensive one. For example, in 2014 home ministry put out data that showed more CRPF men died due to diseases than fighting Maoists.
According to that data, in 2014, while 50 CRPF men died in Maoist attacks, 95 died due to various diseases. Of these 27 fell to malaria, while 35 died due to heart attack. Most paramilitary personnel died in roadrail accidents in Telangana.
With 111 of 194 deaths in the state belonging to this category, it makes up for 66.7% of all CAPF deaths in the state. There are three other states that have more than 50% CAPF deaths due to roadrail accidents. These include Jammu & Kashmir (27 out of 43), Arunachal Pradesh (17 out of 24), and West Bengal (5 out of 8). Interest ingly , there is not a single operation-related death in Jammu and Kashmir, indicating increased normalcy .
The data, however, put maximum CAPF deaths in the undefined “unnatural deaths“ category. Excluding roadrail accidents, this accounts for 51.3% of total CAPF deaths due to causes other than natural death.
Not surprisingly , Chhattisgarh which has seen the worst of Maoist violence over the years, has recorded maximum casualties in operations. Chhattisgarh accounted for 31 out of 89 deaths in operations.
Curiously Uttar Pradesh, which has been comparatively much quieter as far as Maoist violence is concerned and does not share borders with any hostile country , comes a close second accounting 30 operational deaths. They together make up for over 68% deaths in operations.
Jammu & Kashmir has accounted for 66.7% of total fratricide incidents (8 out of 12), pointing at some level stressful conditions in which jawans function there.
Age of victims: mostly 15-35
The Times of India, May 21 2016
Every 3rd road death victim is aged 15-24
One in every three persons dying in road crashes in India is a teenager or young adult in the 1524 age group, data with the Centre reveals. The proportion of fatalities rises to 54% if the 15-35 age group is considered. Last year, 1,46,133 people died in crashes. Of these, 79,000 were in this age group. In 2014, the number was 70,000, indicating how India loses a huge number of young lives to road crashes year after year.
These statistics were collated from figures sent by state police departments. They show 28-30% of all road cras hes take place on national highways, which account for 35% of all road fatalities despite having just a 2% share of India's road network. Sources said the Supreme Court-appointed com mittee on road safety has sought a detailed response on why national highways have a deadly record of deaths -47,649 people died on these roads in 2014 and almost 51,000 last year. The committee also wanted to know what steps the government was taking to reduce fatalities.
Sources said one of the main reasons of youths dying in road crashes could be the high number of fatalities involving two-wheelers and pedestrians. However, data on this is hazy due to absence of a crash investigation system in the country.
“It's a matter of utmost shame to see children dying.It's a time for a political awakening to fix responsibilities. Are those who make laws responsible or those who enforce these, or the agencies who design faulty roads?“ asked road safety expert Rohit Baluja. “Even parents or school authorities who allow our young people to be confronted with such risks must be held responsible. But such calamities must not be acceptable to us as a society,“ Baluja added.
2012-14: Unlicensed drivers, accidents by
The Times of India Dec 21 2015
Accidents caused by drivers without licences increased by 54% between 2012 and 2014, according to data provided by the police departments of all states and Union Territories. In abso ute numbers, the accident count went up from 25,463 to 39,314. In the same period, drivers younger than 18 caused between 19,000 and 21,500 accidents.
Though the official count s evidently much less than actual numbers, it reflects the ree run such drivers seem to enjoy and the need to bring them to book. Transport ministry officials said local police hardly ever book such offenders or the owners of vehicles as they treat these as petty offences.
Global studies suggest drivers in the age group of 1619 are four times more likely to cause accidents compared to older drivers. Teenagers are also more likely to speed, jump traffic lights, take wrong turns and drive after consuming alcohol or drugs.Usually, no one favours taking action against young boys and girls, including their parents, transport ministry officials added.
“The actual number of vio ations, including under-age driving and without licence, is much higher as there is hardly any detection of such drivers in rural areas and small towns. We don't get proper data that can help us plan better and map the gaps. What we al so need is to educate parents and schoolgoing children,“ K K Kapila, chief of International Road Federation, said.
Interestingly, details sub mitted by the road transport ministry to Parliament last week said Delhi traffic police did not provide details on either count.
Women are safer drivers, says police study Indrani Basu TNN
The Times of India, Oct 17, 2011
New Delhi: Busting the stereotype about women being bad drivers, a report compiled by Delhi Traffic Police reveals that woman drivers cause less
than 2% of all fatal road mishaps in the city and their involvement in accidents has dropped in the past few years despite more women taking the wheel.
Till September 15 this year, 12 fatal accidents were caused by women in Delhi, against 724 by men, the report said. Woman drivers were involved in 53 accidents causing injury while the number for men was 2,524. Even in accidents which did not cause injuries, the male-female ratio was 284:4.
“The data does not support the popular impression that women are poor drivers,” said joint CP (traffic) Satyendra Garg. Women smash stereotype, more cautious behind wheel
New Delhi: A report compiled by the Delhi Traffic Police has debunked the age-old stereotype about women being bad drivers as they are found to be involved in less than 2% of all fatal road mishaps in the city. They are believed to be more cautious and therefore responsible for fewer accidents.
“The number of women drivers is just a fraction of the number of men who drive. But even proportionately, women are involved in far fewer accidents and incidents of rash driving than their male counterparts,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg.
“Our impression is women are far safer drivers, with a tendency to follow traffic rules. This disproves the contention that women cannot drive,” he added.
The report is in sharp contrast to the findings of a recent “perception-based” survey by an industry chamber which said women were more aggressive drivers and caused more road fatalities.
Overall, 5,432 road accident cases were reported in the city till September 15, of which woman drivers were found to be responsible for 69 – just over 1% of the total.
The report said over the years, the involvement of woman drivers in accidents has also decreased. While in 2008 women were found to be involved in 107 road accidents, the figure dropped to 101 and then 72 in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Despite stringent checks by the traffic police, women have not been found driving drunk.
Driving school instructors too rubbish perceptions of women having poor motor skills. “More number of women have started driving. Though they are predominantly young girls in the age group of 18-20 years, women of all ages, including between 55 and 60 years, also come to us for learning how to drive. Women are more diligent students and are interested in learning traffic rules carefully. They are perhaps more hesitant and cautious but that is better than rash driving,” said Gaurav Kaghait, senior instructor at New Star Motor Driving College in Kalkaji.
2014: Rash driving arrests among women
The Times of India, Nov 10 2015
Kerala, Maha women lead in arrests for rash driving
Women drivers of Maharashtra and Kerala have beaten their counterparts across the country to emerge as the worst offenders when it comes to rash driving or road rage. According to National Crime Records Bureau data, of the 1,355 women arrested in 2014 for the offence, 263 or 19.4% were in Kerala, and 183 or 15.6% in Maharashtra. With 141 arrests, Gujarat was third in the list. Delhi was much further down with 97 arrests.
Bihar, meanwhile, accounted for the most number of arrests of women for causing death due to negligence (52) in 2014. Uttar Pradesh is second with 49 arrests, followed by West Bengal (42), Tamil Nadu (24) and Karnataka (21). This is the first time rash driving cases have been classified separately in the NCRB's report. NCRB director general Archana Ramasundaram, in her cover note for the 2014 report, stated that like the earlier editions, this report contains detailed information on cognisable crimes, and disposal of crimes by police and courts, etc, but has more chapters. Mumbai joint commis sioner of police (traffic) Milind Bharambe said most accidents caused by reckless driving can be prevented simply by following rules.
2015, Number of accidents: 4.96 lakh
A total of 4.96 lakh traffic accidents were reported in the country in 2015 in which 1.77 lakh people were killed while 4.86 lakh people were injured, according to latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Compared to 2014, the number of traffic accidents across India rose by 3.1% in 2015 (from 4.81 lakh to 4.96 lakh).
With 23,219 deaths in a year, UP reported the highest number of fatalities in road and rail accidents. The state is followed by Maharashtra (18,404 deaths) and Tamil Nadu (17,376 deaths). The figures include deaths in road and rail accidents, which are together referred to as `traffic accidents'.
In 2014 too, UP reported the highest number of combined road and rail fatalities by any state in the country at 20,653, of which 16,284 were killed in road accidents alone.
In 2015, the three states comprised more than one-third of all fatalities in the country (58,999 out of 1,77,423), according to the data released by NCRB on January 3.
Roads with highest accidents, fatalities: 2015
The Times of India, May 26 2016
Among all million-plus cities in India, roads were deadliest in Amritsar where seven lives were snuffed out in every 10 road crashes last year. Ludhiana ranked second with one death in every two crashes and Varanasi was third in the list, according to the latest government data on road accidents released.
The report prepared by the Transport Research Wing (TRW) of road ministry shows while the overall number of deaths in accidents in 50 big cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, has been decreasing over the past three years probably due to increasing congestion, road fatalities are on the rise in rural areas.
The fatalities in big cities have fallen from 17,007 in 2013 to 16,513 in 2015. But in rural areas, it has gone up from 83,003 to 89,155 during the same period. The total number of road deaths in India stood at 1.46 lakh, which is the highest ever and maximum among all countries. “Speeding and little en forcement have been the main reasons behind the increasing number of fatalities. We must carry out a study to assess the socio-economic cost of crashes, fatalities and injuries since we are losing very young people in road crashes,“ said Ashish Kumar, former TRW chief.
Pointing out the need for the Centre and states to work together to deal with this crisis, a government official said 13 states, including UP, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, MP, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana, accounted for 83.6% of all road fatalities.
World's deadliest roads, India
The Times of India, April 21, 2016
Indian roads, world's deadliest, killed record 400day in '15
Dipak Dash Indian roads, which account for the highest fatalities in the world, became even more dangerous in 2015 with the number of deaths rising nearly 5% to 1.46 lakh. This translates to 400 deaths a day or one life snuffed out every 3.6 minutes, which an expert described as a “daily massacre on our roads“.
The number comes as a wake-up call for the government, whose minister Nitin Gadkari has set a goal of reducing road fatalities by 50% by 2020.
According to provisional police data provided by states, Uttar Pradesh recorded the maximum number of road deaths (17,666), followed by Tamil Nadu (15,642), Maharashtra (13,212), Karnataka (10,856) and Rajasthan (10,510).
While the number of road fatalities increased in all big states, 10 smaller ones and UTs, including Delhi and Chandigarh, reported a decline. Assam registered the sharpest decline of 115 deaths in 2015 in comparison to the previous year, while fatalities dipped by 49 in Delhi.
The increasing number of fatalities and road crashes up from 4.89 lakh in 2014 to over five lakh in 2015 -indicated how a slew of initiatives taken by the Centre and state governments for road safety has had little impact. The Supreme Court appointed panel on road safety has written to state governments to step up efforts to curb crashes and fatalities.
“We need a comprehensive legislation to deal with this daily massacre on our roads.Stronger law and better enforcement are the key to reduce crashes,“ said K K Kapila of International Road Federation. Following the death of Union minister Gopinath Munde in an early-morning accident in June 2014 -days after the Modi government came to power -the Centre had announced it would enact a bolder law for road transport and safety . But there has been little progress, with some states expressing reservations against certain provisions of a draft bill.
The road transport ministry has called a meeting of state transport secretaries next week to prepare a roadmap for measures to reduce crashes, including a stricter regime for issuing driving licences and installing safety gadgets in vehicles.
Sources said the measures under consideration include a higher penalty with community service for serious offenders involved in drunk driving, speeding and juvenile driving, and a provision to pin accountability on owners of vehicles driven by minors, besides prohibiting hand-held devices such as mobile phones while driving.
2015: Proportion of young population
The report of the road transport ministry shows how every third person killed in road crashes in India is in the prime of his her youth. In 2015, at least 48,420 people in the age group of 15-24 years were killed in road crashes. The number was bigger at 79,000 deaths in the age group of 15 to 34 years. This was 54% of all road deaths that India recorded in 2015. The data also shows how nearly 42% of the dead were victims of speeding beyond the permissible limit.
It's no different elsewhere. The latest global status report on road safety by the World Health Organisation says road crashes are the biggest killer of people in the age group of 15-29 years and the number is much more than the lives lost in suicides, HIV AIDS, homicide or lower respiratory infection. While increasing penalty for grave offences such as speeding, dangerous driving, drunk driving and using mobile phone while on the wheels are key to tame unruly drivers, experts say what India lacks is a mechanism to ensure that every traffic offender, at least in urban areas, is caught.
“Until there is fear of getting caught every time you violate traffic norms, most of the people won't mend their ways. States and cities need to take quick steps to monitor every violation, which the Centre is pursuing with them since this is a state subject,“ said K K Kapila of International Road Federation. S P Singh of IFTRT, a Delhi-based think tank, said the focus of traffic rule enforcement must be on how to do this electronically. “It's high time that CCTVs and other evidence based enforcement system are used to catch the violators. There is a need to carry out a detailed investigation into all fatal accidents to find the exact cause of crashes, which will help in finding solutions,“ Singh said.
Evidence from across the globe has shown why there is a need to slow down vehicle speed, particularly in countries like India where there is no segregation of slow and fast moving traffic. For instance, pedestrians have a 90% chance of survival if they are hit by a car travelling at a speed of 30kmh or below. But the chance of survival is less than 50% in case a car ia moving at 45 kmph or above.
Increase in roads accidents in "million-plus" cities
Roads in most of the 50 `million-plus cities' including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Agra and Ludhiana were more deadly in 2016 compared with the previous year.According to government data, last year around 20 people died in every 100 road crashes in these cities, while the figure was around 15 in 2015. While Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata saw marginal decrease in the absolute number of road deaths, fatalities have increased in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Jaipur.
Those dying in road crashes in million plus cities increased from 16,513 in 2015 to 17,979 during the last year. Data shared by state governments with the transport ministry show these cities had 11.8% share in the country's total fatalities.
Government data shows roads in Ludhiana were most fatal where 384 people were killed in 549 road crashes in 2016 in comparison to 271 killed in 489 crashes during 2015. The second most unsafe city was Amritsar which claimed 102 lives in 152 crashes last year against 99 people dying in 150 road crashes a year ago.Patna roads emerged as the third most dangerous in 2016 with 52.4 people killed in every 100 road accidents as against only 39.2 in 2015.
“We need to carry out proper crash investigation to determine the causes and only then can we take the right steps,“ said road safety expert Rohit Baluja.
2016: schoolchildren and other minors killed
Road accidents claimed the lives of at least 29 children every day in 2016, mostly school children, according to government data. Haryana had the highest number of such fatalities at 1,452 followed by Uttar Pradesh where 1,393 persons of less than 18 years died in road accidents.
Jan-Sept: steepest ever reduction in road deaths
State-wise list of cut in casualties in 2017, vs. in the same period in 2016
3% decline in road accident deaths
The figures for those killed on roads in India came down by 4,560, or 3%, in 2017 from 1.51 lakh the previous year, the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety said in a report to the apex court on Wednesday. While Punjab, West Bengal and Gujarat have done well, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh have reported more deaths.
Data show the number of fatalities increased in the October-December period, which proved to be a spoiler to the projection of the total reduction in fatalities by more than 5,000 during the calendar year that saw 1,46,377 lives lost on roads. Till September last year, the fall in total road deaths was 5,003. Sources said this shows how there is a need to have continuous and concerted efforts to check fatalities due to road accidents.
The data submitted by the SC panel under Justice (retd) K S Radhakrishanan show that maximum decline While Punjab saw a sharp decline in accidents and deaths where ban on sale of liquor on highways is in force, Bihar saw maximum rise (in percentage terms) despite there being complete prohibition. “Road accidents and fatalities are due to a host of reasons. Since we have no proper analysis and investigation of road deaths, it’s impossible to zero down on any particular reason,” said K K Kapila of International Road Federation. in terms of absolute number was reported from Tamil Nadu which saw deaths come down by 1,061 last year in comparison to 2016, while percentage wise the steepest dip was in Punjab at 15.7%.
Four states and one Union Territory reported increase in fatalities. Uttar Pradesh recorded the maximum number of road fatalities in 2017. Delhi reported a drop by only seven deaths in 2017 in comparison.
2016> 2017, city-wise
B’luru Saw Biggest Dip In Fatalities In 2017
The steel city of Jamshedpur recorded the highest spike in road deaths among the 50 million-plus cities while Bangalore saw the biggest dip in fatalities in 2017 as compared to the previous year, according to the latest report of road accidents in India. Delhi retained the top rank while Chennai and Jaipur registered second and third maximum number of road deaths last year.
Data show that most cities of Maharashtra, including Nashik, Nagpur, Mumbai and Pune, recorded lesser number of road deaths. Same was the case with Gujarat where Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat registered fewer fatalities. The two cities of Punjab, which are known for people owning expensive cars — Amritsar and Ludhiana -—also saw a decline in road deaths. However, cities like Dhanbad, Varanasi, Faridabad, Kannur and Srinagar recorded significantly higher number of accidents and fatalities in 2017 over 2016.
According to the report based on data provided by state police departments, there were 2,872 fewer deaths in 2017 as compared to the previous year and around half of the people killed in road accidents, which was about 73,800, were in the age group of 18-35 years.
Fifteen states, including UP, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, MP, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra and Gujarat, accounted for 90% of total road fatalities. The composition of 15 states largely remain same with that of 2016 except for Kerala, which moved out with Chhatisgarh entering the club last year.
An analysis of the report shows two-wheeler occupants were not just the most impacted road users in accidents, this category of vehicle also caused the maximum number of crashes last year. The accidents caused by two-wheelers claimed 44,092 lives in 2017 and left almost 55,500 seriously injured.
As per the annual accident report, a maximum 48,746 two-wheeler occupants died in crashes and that was highest among all categories of road users. The number of car occupants killed was around 26,900. About 17,200 truck and lorry occupants were killed in accidents, the report said.
Road safety experts said the actual number of deaths could be more and the present system of data collection in form of FIRs needs to be changed. “The source of data must change from the police to the health system to accurately capture the number of deaths,” said Piyush Tiwari of Save Life Foundation. Rohit Baluja of Institute of Road Traffic and Education said the situation won’t improve until the government puts in place a robust system for scientific investigation of accidents.
NEW DELHI: On an average, every 2.5 km of national highways claimed one life due to road accidents in 2018, according to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The report, based on information shared by states, has said 50,771 people died in accidents on the country's NH network and this worked out to 44 deaths per 100 km.
According to NCRB, of the total 4.12 lakh accident deaths reported in 2018, only 6,891 were due to natural forces such as lightning, sun stroke and severe cold. Traffic accidents, including railroad crashes, had over 44% share of non-natural fatalities and the death figure was over 1.78 lakh. Road accidents had the lion's share of these fatalities, registering nearly 1.53 lakh deaths. This is nearly 1,000 more deaths than what the road transport ministry report had mentioned recently.
While speeding has been identified as the biggest reason behind the high number of road deaths, in the case of railways, fall from train and collision of trains with people on the tracks were responsible for most fatalities.
According to NCRB, 16,702 people died in railway accidents due to these reasons. So far as road deaths are concerned, the NCRB report claimed that incidents of "hit and run" went up in 2018. Police registered 47,028 such cases in 2018 compared to 43,727 in 2017.
"Reducing road deaths remains a big challenge and this cannot be achieved unless all states and enforcement agencies are on board. We have seen how only a few states have implemented the amended motor vehicle law. The alarming number of fatalities shows how we can't wait any further to enforce stricter norms to save lives," said K K Kapila of International Road Federation.
2018: fewer accidents but more fatal ones
It’s One Of The Consequences Of Driving Behaviour Not Keeping Pace With Improvement In Quality Of Roads
Road deaths in India increased to nearly 1.49 lakh in 2018 with Uttar Pradesh registering the maximum spike in fatalities. While the country’s most populous state saw its road deaths count increase by more than 2,000 last year over 2017, Tamil Nadu recorded the maximum decline in fatalities, of almost 25%. The southern state saw 3,941 fewer road deaths last year than the year before.
The increase in road fatalities comes as bad news considering that in 2017 the country had registered a 3% decrease in road deaths, from 1.51 lakh in 2016 to 1.48 lakh. The Centre and state governments were hoping to maintain the downward trend in the number of road accident deaths.
The official data on road deaths spanning six years shows that UP saw the maximum increase in absolute numbers of road deaths — from 16,004 in 2013 to 22,256 in 2018 — while Tamil Nadu consistently reduced fatalities during this period, which stood at 15,563 in 2013 but came down to 12,216 last year.
According to the data provided by the state governments, Gujarat registered the second-highest increase in fatalities in 2018 followed by Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab and Chhatisgarh. Among the 13 states that have put some check on fatalities are Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Goa and Puducherry.
“The states need to learn from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Road fatalities are increasing as we don’t study the pathology of road accidents to take corrective measures,” said road safety expert Rohit Baluja. He added that there should be more focus on fatalities and not on accidents and injuries as most of these are not reported.
In Tamil Nadu, the state police chief took the lead, designating an additional SP in each district and commissionerate as the nodal officer for road safety. Performance of all field officers and SPs in making roads safe was also included in the Performance Appraisal Report. It also revamped the highway patrolling system and set up dedicated road safety control room at police headquarters. Also, the reporting and review patterns were revamped and a monthly meeting held to address any issues.
T Krishna Prasad, DGP and chairman of Telangana Road Safety Authority, told TOI that the agencies concerned first need to identify the actual reasons behind the high number of fatalities and accordingly form their action plan.
Addressing a highway operators’ meet on Tuesday, Union transport secretary Y S Malik said all stakeholders, including road users, would have to take it upon themselves to follow traffic rules to make roads safer for all.
Can bicycles claim 200 lives of pedestrians in a year? While medical professionals and former top police officers have their doubts, the latest report of Road Accidents in India blame cyclists for 195 pedestrian deaths last year.
The report, which is a compilation of the data provided by state police departments, said these incidents were reported from just eight states, with Uttar Pradesh leading the list, followed by Punjab, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. It said Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat reported one fatality each under this category while Arunachal Pradesh reported eight such deaths.
According to the report, a total of 25,585 pedestrians were killed in crashes involving different types of vehicles. Maximum pedestrians were killed by twowheelers (6,934) followed by cars, taxis and LMVs (6,458). “This is incorrect data and quite surprising. There cannot be so many pedestrian deaths due to bicycles hitting them. There can be very few such fatalities in hilly areas or in cases where the bicycle handle hit the neck of a pedestrian. But pedestrians can be severely injured in case a speeding cycle hits them,” said T Krishna Prasad, former DGP for Road Safety Authority of Telangana.
Dr Sushma Sagar, professor of trauma surgery at AIIMS, told TOI that they have rarely come across pedestrians getting killed by cyclists as their ability to speed is limited. “There have been fatal cases due to pedestrians getting hit by two-wheelers (scooters and motorcycles), cars, buses and trucks. Bicycle riders are also often victims. There have been cases of bicyclists receiving serious injuries after falling from cycles. There have been cases of bicycle handles hitting the abdomen and impacting the pancreas. This is more in the case of young cyclists,” she said.
A senior official in the road safety cell of a northern state also contested the figures saying there is a high probability that the police departments have inadvertently given such data. “There is a need to screen the data that the Centre receives from states. Wrong data is worse than having no data,” he added.
Responding to whether such data sets have adverse impact on policy making, Krishna Prasad said there is little impact as the main cause of fatalities in crashes such as speeding, drunk driving, driving without wearing helmet and seatbelt should be the focus of policy making. “But we have hardly done anything to address these issues,” he said.
In 2020, every 100 road crashes claimed, on an average, 37 lives as recorded by police across the country, the most in the last five years. Overall road deaths, however, reduced due to the pandemic induced restrictions on vehicle movement for months.
A comparative analysis of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2017 to 2020 shows that the number of lives lost per 100 road crashes was 35 in 2019, 34 in 2018 and 32 in 2017. This is also defined as “severity of accidents” and an indicator of how safe or unsafe roads are. According to the latest report on accidental deaths published by NCRB for 2020, the overall road fatalities reduced by nearly 14%, from about 1.5 lakh in 2019 to 1.3 lakh during last year, primarily on account of restrictions due to Covid-19. But indicators such as severity of crashes and increased share of two-wheeler occupants’ deaths in total fatalities — from 36% in 2019 to 43.6% in 2020 — emerged as issues of concern.
“The NCRB report also shows how the number of road crashes increased as restrictions on vehicle movement were lifted during the second half of 2020. This could be due to increased number of vehicles and also signs of systemic problems such as traffic engineering and faulty road designs that we need to fix rather than simply putting all the blame on road users,” said Rohit Baluja, a road safety expert and president of the College of Traffic Management.
In fact, the data shows that the number of road crashes in 2020 recorded by police departments touched the lowest ever in April at 8,350 and remained less than the figures of 2019 till October. The traffic crashes spiked in November and December. In November last year, the number of registered road crashes was 36,607 compared to 36,131 in 2019 and in December 2020, these increased to 38,128 compared to 36,394 a year back.
The NCRB does not publish the month-wise fatalities, unlike the ‘Road Accidents in India’ report that the road transport ministry publishes annually. The ministry has not yet published the report of 2020.
During Covid lockdown
Road deaths reduced by 62% during the lockdown period between March 24 and May 31, according to data provided by 24 states and UTs to the Supreme Court committee on road safety.
During this period, these states reported 8,976 less fatalities, over 25,000 fewer crashes and nearly 26,000 less people were left injured as compared to the corresponding period in 2019. Maharashtra saw maximum decline of 1,632 road fatalities followed by Rajasthan (1,171), Gujarat (900), Bihar (898) and Telangana (604). Chandigarh and Daman and Diu reported no road deaths. Among states, Uttarakhand saw maximum decline in these fatalities in percentage terms (-90%) followed by Kerala registering nearly 89% reduction.
Four major states which have not yet submitted the data for this period are Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Delhi has also not provided the details. Analysis of the data also shows that the severity of road crashes, which is deaths per 100 crashes, was higher during these 69 days as compared to last year. While last year 39 people were killed in every 100 crashes during the same period, it increased to 46 during this year.
Though road deaths have come down significantly across the globe during the Covid pandemic and lockdowns, the first quarter of 2020 too saw a drop in fatalities and injuries in crashes in India as compared to January-March period of last year. Overall, there was 8% decline or 3,089 less fatalities during the first three months of the current calendar year. Barring, West Bengal, Goa, Tripura, Puducherry and Ladakh, all other states and UTs reported fewer fatalities.