More people are dying on Indian roads than they were eight years ago, with small towns seeing a sharp rise in such fatalities, a study submitted to the Planning Commission said.
Lack of law enforcement against high speed and drink driving had driven up the accident death rate by around eight per cent since 2000, said Dinesh Mohan of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Mohan is the lead author of the study conducted for the University of Michigan.
The findings were released on Monday at a meeting of officials entrusted with the job of road safety.
Even though the number of vehicles per 100 people was very low in India, deaths per one lakh people were much higher when compared with European countries and Japan.
The study also found that congested inter-city roads and state highways, and not the national highways, accounted for a majority of such deaths.
“Close to 70 per cent of people who die on Indian roads are two-wheeler riders, cyclists and pedestrians,” Mohan said. He blamed absence of pedestrian pathway and separate corridor for slow-moving traffic for it.
All states except Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland recorded a steady rise in deaths due to road accidents since 2000. In Delhi, the accident rate per 1,000 people has fallen despite an increase in the number of vehicles.
Among big cities, Agra had the highest rate of accidents (317) per one million, the number for Delhi was 140. The lowest rate (33) was for Amritsar. “The average rate of fatalities - 98 per million - for million plus cities in India is 45 per cent higher than in the US,” the report said.
The ministry of road transport is likely to constitute a road safety board after elections, a plan panel official said.