An inebriated driver rammed his van into three young friends answering a call of nature by the roadside five days ago in this Madhya Pradesh city. One of them was crushed to death; the others were injured.
Similarly, four friends returning home from a night out at a dhaba on the outskirts of Indore met with an accident as the driver lost control and the car overturned on the Tejaji Nagar bypass. Two of them died instantly; a third was gravely injured. Police said the friends were from well-off families; and drunk.
These deaths added to the number of road accidents Madhya Pradesh has recorded over the past five years — 2,278, according to police data, out of which 552 were caused by drink driving.
Traffic expert Praful Joshi said 80% of road deaths were linked to people driving two-wheelers under the influence of alcohol on highways, which brought to notice the opening of 147 liquor shops on the outskirts of Indore.
Road conditions have improved but not traffic sense and responsibility among motorists as many people have the tendency to overtake without waiting for a signal from the vehicle ahead, he said.
“Lack of traffic awareness is leading to social irresponsibility such as driving a bike without wearing a helmet or a car without seatbelt. To make matters worse, many bars serve liquor till late in the night and alcohol shops are open 24X7. Innumerable things can be blamed,” Joshi said.
The number of underage drinkers driving vehicles has increased too, a disturbing trend that should be arrested before it became a monster, the expert said.
Police data say Indore has registered an exponential 10% to 15% annual increase in road accident fatalities every year since 2011. The Indore bypass is the most accident-prone location, having claimed over 200 lives, followed by Simrol and Kannod roads.
The data show motorcycles and scooters continued to be the biggest killers, with 3,125 deaths since 2015. Trucks killed 1,606 people.
Traffic experts and police officers said the fatalities could be reduced with awareness programmes and campaigns, regular screening of drivers for blood alcohol level, and stricter implementation of road rules by law-enforcing agencies.