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A Road Accident in Uttar Pradesh could probably be five times more fatal than the one in Kerala

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Number of road accidents and the persons killed in road accidents have marginally come down from 2011 to 2013. As per the data, close to 3 persons are killed in every 10 road accidents. The state wise variations are very interesting. While the southern states recorded higher number of accidents, states like UP, Punjab & Uttarakhand had more fatalities despite relatively lesser number of accidents. For instance, an accident in UP could probably be five times more fatal than an accident in Kerala.

The data on road accidents with the Government of India shows, that the number of road accidents has marginally come down from 2011 to 2013. A total of 4,97,686 road accidents happened in 2011 while the corresponding number in 2013 is 4,86,476. This represents a reduction of 2.2% in the total number of accidents. Similarly, the number of persons killed in road accidents has also come down marginally from 1,42,485 in 2011 to 1,37,572 in 2013. At the same time, the number of accidents in major cities has marginally increased.

Road accidents in India Statistics - Number of Road accidents & Deaths 2011 - 2013

State wise variations

There are wide variations between states. In terms of the number of road accidents between 2011 and 2013, four of the top six states are from South India. These are the only 6 states with more than a lakh road accidents in these 3 years. Tamil Nadu tops the chart with close to two lakh road accidents followed by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Kerala in that order.

Road accidents in India Statistics - Number of Road Accidents 2011 - 2013

But when it comes to number of persons killed in road accidents from 2011 to 2013, Uttar Pradesh tops the chart with 53665. Though Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Maharashtra also are in the top 5, it is because of a high number of accidents in these states.

Number of Persons Killed Vs Number of Accidents

If the ratio of Number of Persons Killed to the Number of Accidents is calculated, it presents a completely different picture. On the top is Mizoram with a ratio of 0.79 followed by Punjab (0.75), Nagaland (0.73), Uttar Pradesh (0.60) & Uttarakhand (0.60). What is interesting is that, none of the states that topped the charts in number of accidents are in the top 15. For instance, the ratio for Kerala is 0.12 which is five times less than that of Uttar Pradesh. This means that a road accident in Uttar Pradesh could probably be five times more fatal than one in Kerala. The underlying reasons for such uncorrelated figures warrant  a deeper study.

Road accidents in India Statistics - Number of Persons Killed to Number of Accidents

Ban on use of Earphones while Walking.

The details of road accidents were shared by the government when a MP from BJP asked the government about the steps it is taking to bring a legislation for banning earphones while walking. Dr. Sunil Baliram Gaikwad is the BJP MP from Latur in Maharashtra. He is a first time MP and has an impressive record in the 16th Lok Sabha so far in asking questions.

Concerned by the growing incidents of accidents involving pedestrians, he posed the following questions in the Lok Sabha, in December 2014, to the Minister of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH).

  • The number of accidents/deaths taken place due to use of earphones while walking in the country during the last three years and the current year;
  • The steps being taken by the Government to bring a legislation for banning earphones while walking as prevailing in other countries; and
  • The time by which such legislation is likely to come in force?

The Government of India in its response said that, it does not maintain specific information relating to accidents/deaths while walking.  Road accident data is compiled in MORTH in a format developed as per the Asia Pacific Road Accident Database (APRAD) project of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP). In this format, specific data for road accidents/deaths taken place due to use of earphones while walking is not compiled.

The Government also said that there is no proposal to bring a legislation for banning earphones while walking. It said, however, the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 contain a number of provisions to curb use of mobile phone while driving motor vehicles.

International Experience

There have been some studies in various states of the USA about the impact of texting while walking. States like Virginia & California have unsuccessfully tried enacting a law banning texting while walking. Israel was also mulling a similar law. There was also a false news about texting being banned while walking in Fort Lee, New Jersey. There are divergent views on this issue world over.

Source:  Unstarred Question No. 4149 Answered on 18.12.2014 in the Lok Sabha, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
Featured Image Source: Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL, CC BY 3.0, GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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