Maharashtra’s roads continue to be the most unsafe in the country, according to a central government report. The state accounts for 13.8% of road accidents in India.
If it is any solace, the state’s roads are less deadly than those of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which account for 10.8% and 10.6% of road fatalities, while 9.8% of them occur in Maharashtra.
Based on the research by its transport research wing, the report by the ministry of road transports and highways highlights that five states — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh — account for over 50% fatalities in road accidents.
In 2011, about 1.47 lakh people were killed in 1.21 lakh road accidents across the country, of which 12,500 deaths occurred in Maharashtra, a figure which has now crossed 13,000.
Padmakar Helekar, a driving expert, said the craze for speed, violation of rules and drink driving causes most of the accidents. “The condition of roads can’t be blamed as it is the responsibility of drivers to adjust the speed of their vehicles,” he said.
Lenient licencing procedures are also responsible for the high number of accidents in the state, said Nitin Dossa, general secretary of Western India Automobile Association. Apart from tightening norms, there is a need for more professional motor driving schools, he said, adding that young drivers without sufficient experience should not be allowed to ply powerful vehicles like SUVs or trucks on the highways.
Sources in the regional transport office claim that compared to the national accident data, there is a slight drop in accidents across the state. An official said about 15.5% of accidents used to occur in Maharashtra five years ago, a percentage which has since dropped.
In the last six months, the state has witnessed some deadly road accidents. Recently, 37 passengers were killed and 14 injured when a private bus fell into a river near Khed in Ratnagiri district on March 19.