Over-speeding led to a maximum number of road crashes and deaths in India in 2019, revealed the annual road accident report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
According to the report released by the ministry's Transport Research Wing, 1,51,113 people were killed, and 4,51,361 persons were injured in 4,49,002 road crashes in India in 2019. The country saw 1,230 road crashes and 414 deaths every day or 51 crashes and 17 deaths every hour.
In a cause-wise split, maximum number of road crashes and deaths were caused by over-speeding, which accounted for 67.3 per cent or 1,01,699 deaths, 71 per cent of crashes and 72.4 per cent of injuries.
The number of pedestrians killed in road crashes increased from 22,656 in 2018, to 25,858 in 2019 i.e., increase of about 14.13 per cent. Together, two wheelers and pedestrians accounted for 54 per cent of the accident related killings and are the most vulnerable category, keeping in line with global trends.
Gender wise, 1,29,319 (86 per cent) males and 21,794 (14 per cent) females lost their lives to road crashes in 2019. The non-use of helmets caused 44,666 (approx 30 per cent) deaths and non-use of seat belts caused 20,885 (14 per cent) deaths in 2019.
Overloaded vehicles accounted for about 10 per cent deaths and 8 per cent of total crashes. About 69,621 (15.5 per cent) cases were registered as 'Hit and Run' which caused 29,354 deaths (19.4 per cent) and 61,751 injuries (13.7 per cent). Compared to 2018, hit and run cases increased by 1.5 per cent and deaths due to hit and run increased by 0.5 per cent.
Driving without a valid license or with a learners license accounted for 15 per cent of total crashes. There was a 6.2 per cent increase in road crash deaths due to potholes, with 2,140 deaths in 2019.
Vehicles, more than 10 years, accounted for 41 per cent of accident related deaths. The share of the number of persons killed in urban and rural areas was 32.9 per cent and 67.1 per cent respectively.
India has, however, witnessed reduction in road crash fatalities after the enactment of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act in 2019, the ministry said.
In percentage terms, in 2019, the number of crashes decreased by almost 3.9 per cent from the previous year, while the crash related deaths decreased by 0.20 per cent and the persons injured decreased by almost 3.9 per cent.
This is also in contradiction to the recently-released Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) Report by NCRB under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs. The ADSI reported 1.3 per cent increase in road accident deaths from 2018 to 2019 and reported total fatalities at 1,54,732.
Before the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act came into force, the country recorded 1,04,206 deaths between January- August, which was a 2 per cent increase from 2018. Following its enactment, 46,907 road crash deaths occurred during the months of September-December, which is a 4.6 per cent reduction from the deaths that occurred in 2018 during these months.
"This shows that the enactment of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 may have led to a reduction in road crash fatalities in the later months of the year," the ministry said.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 came into effect from September 1 after it was passed by the Rajya Sabha in July. The bill replaced the 26-year-old Motor Vehicles Act, which was last amended in 2001.
The law imposed stricter provisions and heavier fines on road-related offences with penalties for drunken driving increased to Rs 20,000 from Rs 2,000. It also introduced fines for not providing way for emergency vehicles and juvenile driving.
Tamil Nadu (12.7 per cent) topped the country in terms of total number of road crashes followed by Madhya Pradesh (11.3 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (9.5 per cent). In case of road crash deaths, Uttar Pradesh (15 per cent) topped the country, followed by Maharashtra (8.5 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (7.4 per cent).
In a city wise analysis, Delhi (1,463) was the city with the highest number of road crash fatalities, followed by Jaipur (1,283), Chennai (1,252), Bengaluru (768) and Kanpur (692). In terms of road crashes, Chennai (6,871) was the highest followed by Delhi (5,610) and Bengaluru (4,684).
As per age wise break up of road crash data, maximum lives lost were those of between the ages 18-35 years (48 per cent). The working age population in the 18-60 years bracket accounted for a share of 84 per cent in the total deaths. As many as 11,168 children were killed due to road crashes in 2019, i.e., 31 child deaths every day. Child deaths increased by 1,191 (11.94 per cent) over the previous year.
Commenting on the statistics, Piyush Tewari, CEO and founder, SaveLIFE Foundation, said: "There is an urgent need for full implementation of the Road Safety provisions in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, including implementation of Child Safety provisions. Additionally, identifying risk factors specific to the safety of children and creating a plan to mitigate them should be prioritised by all state governments. This will not only help lives of Children but other road-users as well."