Even as number of accidents drops, number of deaths has seen a steady increase over the past eight years in Maharashtra, which is a serious cause for concern
Even as the state continues to make improvements in roads and infrastructure, figures show that they are increasingly dangerous to motorists and pedestrians. Latest figures show that while the number of accidents has dropped, the number of fatalities has increased.
In 2013, the number of accidents recorded was 61,883, a considerable drop from last year, which saw 66,316 accidents. However, the flipside is that the number of deaths has risen considerably in the last eight years. Rashmi Karandikar, superintendent of police (Highway traffic), said, “We have tried to improve patrolling on most of the highways in the state, owing to which there has been a drop in fatalities compared to last year.”
Figures show that compared to last year’s 13,333 deaths, this year there were 12,187. Officials said that most of the accidents occurred on national highways the Mumbai Goa National Highway, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Nashik and Mumbai-Kolhapur.
Officials told MiD DAY that since 2006 the number of accidents were reducing but unfortunately, the fatalities had seen an upward trend, making these accidents more serious than those in the past. When asked about the accidents, officials said that the number of cars plying on the road was a contributing factor. In 2006, there were 1.09 crore vehicles in the state but in 2012 that number had jumped to 1.94 crore.
Transport experts chimed in and said that poor health care facilities were another factor for the increase in deaths. They said that there was an urgent need to improve medical facilities, especially on national highways. In fact, the government has promised at least 950 new ambulances in the state in the days to come. “These would be mainly to provide victims of accidents first-aid till they are rushed to the nearest hospital,” said a government official.