In the first four months of 2015, Mumbai witnessed 7,331 road accidents, of which 159 were fatal. This figure is down slightly from the same period in 2014, when 7,549 accidents were recorded, of which 215 were fatal.
In the whole of 2014, the city witnessed 22,599 accidents (574 fatal) and while the figure has been decreasing steadily (from 23,603 in 2013 and 24,592 in 2012) the drop is hardly significant, especially given the number road safety campaigns the Mumbai police have conducted over this period.
While such drives are no doubt necessary, the figures show that there is only so much the police can do to combat the lack of road discipline that causes most accidents.
Of the 7,331 accidents reported between January and April this year, 2,236 took place in the eastern region, which comprises seven traffic divisions – Mahim, Matunga, Chembur, Trombay, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli and Mulund. The western region, which stretches from Bandra to DN Nagar in Andheri (W) – witnessed 2,129 accidents.
Road safety experts said the onus of reducing the number of accidents is not only on the traffic police but ordinary motorists as well. “The chalta-hai attitude of the majority of motorists is what causes most accidents. Most people will jump a red light after checking that there is no policeman around,” said Riddhish Parekh, a Santacruz resident. Another contributing factor, Parekh said, is the refusal of many motorists to use seatbelts and helmets, which can significantly reduce the number of fatal accidents.
Alka Shah, a member of the road safety advisory committee, agreed that the lack of road discipline is one of the main reasons why Mumbai’s roads remain perilous. “We have strict enforcement from the police but what we lack is discipline and awareness when driving,” said Shah.
Shah said that many Indians who travel abroad abides by traffic rules there, but don’t think twice before jumping a red light in India. “This attitude should be changed,” she said.
“For example, Janhavi Gadkar, being a lawyer, should have known that taking a cab was the right thing to do as she was drunk. Such habits should be inculcated in motorists right from the start,” Shah added. Nitin Dossa, executive chairman of Western India Automobile Association (WIAA), said, “There is a limit to what the traffic police can do. Educating drivers should be the top priority. Improving the process by which driver’s licences are given is the first step towards reducing the number of accidents.”
ROAD ACCIDENTS IN MUMBAI
January to April 2015
Only injuries: 7,334
January to April 2014
Only injuries: 7,334
Only injuries: 22,025
Only injuries: 23,029
Only injuries: 24,121
* DRINK DRIVING ARRESTS
Figures for January 1 to June 11, 2015
Heavy vehicles (tempos, trucks, dumpers): 131
(Of the 6,980 arrested for drink driving, 2,198 did not have a driver’s license)
* Drink drivers by age
Most drink drivers arrested this year are between the ages of 21 to 35. Here is the age-wise break-up of those arrested for drunk driving from January 1 to June 11, 2015
18 to 20: 155
21 to 25: 1,640
26 to 30: 1,923
31 to 35: 1,372
36 to 40: 881
41 to 45: 568
46 to 50: 253
51 to 58: 188