A total of 46,593 persons who were not wearing helmets were killed in road accidents last year, said a report by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Of these, 32,877 were drivers and 13,716 were passengers.

The report also said that 16,397 persons who were not wearing seat belts died in road accidents in 2021. Of these, 8,438 were drivers and remaining 7,959 were passengers.

A total of 4,12,432 road accidents were reported in 2021, out of which 1,28,825 were on national highways. In these mishaps, 56,007 persons were killed and 1,17,765 were injured, the report said.

Road accidents in 2021 increased by 12.6% as compared to 2020, while the number of persons killed rose by 16.9% and those injured jumped by 10.4%.

Uttar Pradesh had the most road accident fatalities, accounting for 15.2% of the total casualties followed by Tamil Nadu at 9.4%, Maharashtra at 7.3% and Rajasthan at 6.8%.

“The worst affected age group in road accidents is 18-45 years, which accounts for about 67% of total accidental deaths,” said the report.

It pointed out that accident severity, which refers to the number of persons killed per 100 accidents, has been on the rise since 2000. This increase, the report said, underscores the need for improved trauma care and traffic calming measures that are aimed at reducing crash impact parameters.

The report suggested taking measures such as installing traffic warning signs, delineators, road studs, bar markings and humps at approach roads at vulnerable sections on the national highways to reduce fatalities in accidents.

Following the death of former Tata Sons chairperson Cyrus Mistry and his co-passenger Jehangir Pandole in an accident in Maharashtra’s Palghar district on September 4, the Centre had said that wearing seat belts will be compulsory for all car passengers.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had said that fines will be levied on those who fail to wear seat belts in the back of a car. Passengers not wearing a seat belt in the rear seats can be fined Rs 1,000 under Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, reported PTI.