The highest number of road fatalities in the last five years was recorded in 2016. According to official statistics, 424 persons died and 841 were injured in 883 accidents that took place in 2016.
The number of fatalities for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 were 378, 399, 387 and 331, respectively, in road accidents. In 2017, there have already been a few accidents, including the death of a senior citizen couple, whose car was crushed by a bus at the Hapur road crossing near the Raj Nagar District Centre on January 2.
“We have tried our best to enforce the rules with regular drives and awareness programmes. The department is short-staffed but we still penalised over 2.3 lakh offenders. However, city roads are marred by defunct traffic signals (20 out of 40 are dysfunctional) and poor traffic infrastructure,” Rajesh Kumar, the superintendent of police (traffic), said.
“For this, we have been constantly writing to different agencies to take up work for improving conditions such as road widening, widening of turns, repainting of faded zebra crossings,” he said.
According to records, the traffic police penalised nearly 1,38,965, 2,49,243 and 2,30,540 offenders in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. However, the accidents continued to take place throughout 2016.
“Was there no agency or even police personnel who could have barricaded the under-construction flyover from which my brother fell off and died? The entire family is shattered and faces a serious question about the upbringing of his two children, who are minors,” Rakesh Kumar, brother of a 30-year-old biker who died after falling off an under-construction flyover at Meerut Crossing on January 2, said.
SK Maheshwari, a social activist, said, “There are also many pedestrian fatalities as footpaths are heavily encroached upon and pedestrian bridges have no escalators. Triple driving, not wearing helmets and using mobile phones is the norm here.”
The police records also show that driving without helmets, triple riding and parking on roads are the most repeated violations in the last three years.
“Wrong-side driving, drunk driving and overtaking at high speed are common here. Commuters hardly fear the traffic police, which is the opposite of the situation in other cities such as Delhi. It is high time that commuters regulate themselves, otherwise, there will be no let up in road fatalities,” Alok Kumar of Arihant Harmony in Indirapuram said.
The city also witnesses a major flow of traffic due to the presence of major national highways, NH-24, NH-58 and NH-91, and state highway 57. Some of the worst accidents have taken place on the highways due to illegal exits, roadside parking of trucks and speeding.
In a May 2016 survey by the Ghaziabad traffic police, the officials found out that cars and two-wheelers were involved in nearly 30% of the accidents, commercial vehicles in 35% and buses in 15%.
The survey also highlighted that drivers aged from 18-34 years were involved in nearly 73% of accidents while those aged from 35-44 years accounted for 12% of the total accidents. As per the survey, 42% of the total accidents involved vehicles that were less than four years old.