A Statistical Analysis of Road Accidents in India

Road accidents are not unfamiliar to most Indians. But just what are the statistics underlying these mishaps? Here’s what figures tell us.

Firstly, the grim truth is that India leads the rest of the world when it comes to the number of accidents per year. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of road accidents taking place annually has now passed the 1,35,000 mark – which works out to a chilling average of 15 accidents per hour every day.

According to the Transport Research Wing (TRW) of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (Government of India) has furnished the following data, highlighting not only the number of fatalities and casualties, but also the variation of the trend over time.

Needless to say, the trend is alarming. The number of accidents is growing slowly but steadily, year after year. Trucks and two-wheelers are involved in more than 40% deaths, while the afternoon and evening rush hours constitute the period with the maximum rate of accidents.

If the above figures weren’t gruesome enough, here’s worse news – the numbers mean an average of one road accident per minute, and one road accident death every four minutes, everyday.

(figures in parenthesis indicate contribution by percentage)

The NCRB states that a large majority of these incidents are caused by drunken driving.

The road accidents are classified by frequency are as follows.

Source : Transport research wing and NCRB

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has also sketched out a list of causes for the accidents it records.

The Working Group set up by the Planning Commission estimates that the total cost of road accidents in India in the year 2000 was Rs. 55,000 crore, about 3% of GDP.

These numbers, however, do not represent the entire picture. There are quite a few accidents that go unrecorded, most often because they do not take place in known accident-prone areas. Also, a number of people injured in road accidents succumb to their injuries a few days after the accident, and such deaths are not categorized as results of road accidents.

These statistics are enough to set alarm bells ringing – it is time to stop saying “Something must be done”, rather, spread the attitude of “We must do something, We will do something” to make our roads safer, to abolish the dark cloud that seems to linger above our roads, growing darker every year. If we all work together, the day will not be far away when the sunlight breaks through the clouds and shines bright on our roads again.

-by Abhishek Neeli

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