Around 200 migrant workers lost their lives in road accidents during the lockdown period, with over-speeding of vehicles being one of the main reasons, according to non-profit body SaveLIFE Foundation.
Five states Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and Maharashtra accounted for the maximum deaths of migrant workers, the non-governmental organisation, which is working towards curbing road accidents in the country, said in a statement.
"Since the lockdown began, nearly 200 migrant workers have lost their lives, while walking, cycling back home, travelling in HMVs (heavy motor vehicles) and LMVs (light motor vehicles)..., and in mass fatality crashes involving state-organised buses. One of the recurring reasons for mass casualties in most of the incidents was speeding and driver fatigue due to continuous driving on tenuous routes," the foundation said.
The non-profit body said it compiled data based on various print and online media reports published during the lockdown period and cross-verified them from sources.
The top 5 states that reported road crash deaths of migrant workers are Uttar Pradesh (94), Madhya Pradesh (38), Bihar (16), Telangana (11) and Maharashtra (9), it said.
Out of the four phases of lockdown, the fourth phase was the deadliest overall, whereas the third phase was the deadliest in particular for migrant workers, the statement said.
The third phase reported 60 per cent of all migrant deaths in road crashes during the lockdown followed by the fourth phase with 19 per cent of total migrant deaths reported in the media.
"There were at least 1,461 road crashes over the course of the nationwide lockdown between March 25 and May 31, 2020. At least 750 people were killed including 198 migrant workers headed home. 1,390 persons were reported injured in the crashes. The data has been compiled using media-tracking and multi-source verification," it said.
The NGO said Uttar Pradesh accounted for over 30 per cent (245) of the total deaths followed by Telangana (56), Madhya Pradesh (56), Bihar (43), Punjab (38) and Maharashtra (36).
Further analysis revealed that around 27 per cent of the victims were migrant workers whereas 5 per cent were essential workers like police, doctors and others, it added.
The body said 68 per cent of the overall deaths involved pedestrians, two-wheelers and three-wheelers categorised as Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs).
Commenting on the same, Piyush Tewari, founder and CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation, said, "It is critical that states enhance enforcement to prevent road crashes and the citizens inculcate essential safety habits for the road like they did for personal hygiene during the lockdown."
The NGO said that as per media reports tracked, vehicle-on-vehicle collisions constituted the highest crash configuration with 43 per cent of all road crash deaths.
In 15 per cent cases, speeding was highlighted as a factor, though it is likely that speeding was involved in most fatal crashes though not highlighted in the media reports tracked. Pedestrian rundowns constituted 9 per cent of the total death toll, indicating the urgent need for design changes to segregate pedestrian traffic from fast moving vehicles.
India accounts for about 5 lakh road crashes per annum in which about 1.5 lakh people are killed and another 3 lakh are crippled. This is one of the highest globally.