There were nine road accidents that killed three people every 10 minutes in 2015, according to new national data, an increase of 9% over four years.
Road accidents killed 148,000 people in 2015 compared to 136,000 in 2011, according to the Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India report released by the National Crime Records Bureau. Road accidents accounted for 83% of all traffic-related deaths in India and 43% of all accidental deaths in 2015. Other traffic-related deaths were from railway accidents (15%) and accidents at railway crossings (2%).
There were 464,000 road accidents in 2015, an increase of 3% from 2014, when there were 450,000 road accidents.
While Tamil Nadu (69,059), Karnataka (44,011) and Maharashtra (42,250) reported the most road accidents, Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of deaths in road accidents (18,407).
The road transport sector contributes to 4.8% of the country’s gross domestic product, but India loses 1%-3% of GDP due to road accidents, according to this 2007 report of the road transport working group of the erstwhile Planning Commission for the 11th Plan.
Despite a national road safety strategy and laws on speed limits, wearing helmets and seat belts and drunk-driving, the World Health Organisation rates India’s enforcement as 3 out of 10 on speed limits, 4 out of 10 on wearing motorcycle helmets, 4 out of 10 on drunk-driving, and 4 out of 10 on wearing seat belts.
Two-wheeler riders most at risk
Two-wheeler accidents accounted for 29% of all fatal road accidents in 2015, claiming 45,540 lives, followed by trucks (19%), which killed 28,910 people, and cars (12%), which killed 18,506 people.
Tamil Nadu (3,668) and Maharashtra (3,146) reported the largest number of people killed in two-wheeler accidents, while Uttar Pradesh had the largest number of lives lost due to truck accidents (5,720) and car accidents (2,135).
More pedestrians were killed in Maharashtra (1,256) than any other state, accounting for 17% of pedestrian deaths.
National highways most dangerous
Although national highways account for only 1.5% of India’s road length, they accounted for 28% of road accidents and 33% of road-mishap deaths nationwide in 2015.
State highways, 3% of India’s road length, contributed to 25% of road accidents and 28% of deaths due to road mishaps.
Over-speeding was responsible for 41% of deaths in road accidents, while careless or dangerous driving claimed 32% of deaths in road accidents. Poor weather (4%) and mechanical defects (3%) in motor vehicles were other causes for deaths in road accidents.
Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra had the most number of casualties due to over-speeding, with 15% and 12% of cases, respectively.
Uttar Pradesh had the largest number of deaths due to careless/dangerous driving (17%), followed by Maharashtra (9%).
Chennai has most accidents, Delhi deadliest
Chennai accounted for 9% of all road accidents in 53 cities, followed by Delhi (9%) and Bengaluru (6%).
Delhi (8%) and Jaipur (5%) had the largest number of deaths in road accidents, among 53 cities.
This article first appeared on Indiaspend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.