One road accident takes place every minute in the country and one person gets injured every four minutes. In 2011, around 1.4 lakh people were killed in 4.4 lakh accidents. Of these, Maharashtra accounted for more than 68,000 accidents, claiming over 13,000 lives.
The dismal road safety figures have been released by the directorate general of traffic (highway). Addressing the media on the Road Safety Week, Director General of Traffic (Highway) Vijay Kamble said, “Most of the people dying in accidents are between 18-54 years of age.”
The good news is that accidents in Maharashtra have been steadily decreasing since 2006. “We had 75,779 accidents in 2006 which came down to 68,438 in 2011. Until November 2012, we reported 59,510 accidents,” Kamble said, adding, “The main reason for the decrease is that traffic police have been given more authority compared to the past years.”
Incidentally, drink driving cases reported in the state have been on a steady rise. In 2007, almost 15,000 cases were reported compared to 42,000 in 2011. The figure for 2012 till November, though, has been roughly 31,000.
Cars cramming roads
Kamble said, “The number of vehicles in Maharashtra are rapidly on the rise while the road network has only marginally increased. There are approximately two crore vehicles on the roads.”
On precautionary measures, Kamble said, “More than 9,000 ambulances have been provided just for accidents. It is likely to reduce the number of injured and fatalities. Training courses have been made available for defensive driving, especially for bus drivers and youth.”
The traffic police also outlined 114 black spots — prone to fatal mishaps — in Maharashtra. Precautionary billboards have been put up before these spots.
Comparing the accident rate in the country to that in the US, Kamble said that India reported over a lakh more cases than the US. “It’s because driving tests before allotting licences are stricter there. Here, untrained drivers are on the roads with their vehicles, causing deaths.”
Accidents have been happening every year even as we mark Road Safety campaigns. On Dec 31, 2012 nearly 840 people were caught driving drunk. So there is a need for stringent rules.
— Home Minister RR Patil
There is a need to train drivers of heavy vehicles, especially on the highways.
— Deputy CM Ajit Pawar