In fatal-accident figures, Punjab now is past the national average. It's time to apply the brakes.
Even the national average has spiralled up between 2001 and 2011 to 32.3 per lakh people. It is higher even when the population growth in the decade is taken into view. The increase in the unnatural deaths in accidents in the period was 22.4 per lakh, suggests information on the official website of the national crime records bureau (NCRB) under the ministry of home affairs.
The average suggests that nearly 450 people were killed every day in 2011 in accidents alone in India. "It is shocking to know that," said Sukhdeep Singh, accountant from Surghuri village.
Punjab, 17th on the list of most fatal accidents, has an accident death rate of 38 per lakh people, beyond the national average of 32.3 per lakh. It reported 6,496 road accidents in 2011, and 4,897 deaths in these. It's a death rate of 75%.
Punjab's figures are high even in the railway and road accidents. Here the state is 9th among 10 most accident-prone states. In the state, Ludhiana has the maximum deaths in accident (47.5 per lakh population).
In India, two-wheelers cause the most number of deaths in accidents (22.4% of the total). The data is on the official website OF the NCRB.
Opinion and analysis
Our roads are dangerous because of many reasons. "Most roads are too narrow and rough for the present traffic," said accountant Sukhdeep Singh. "The vehicles are overloaded and not used for the purpose meant. Even goods trucks and tractor-trailers ferry passengers."
"Road safety is an alien concept in the state," said Sukhjinder Singh, a villager from Niamiwala near here. "Driving licence is mere formality, most people who have it, have very little knowledge of road rules."
More personal vehicles
People prefer to drive personal vehicles and avoid public transport. "It congests the roads," said Mohar Singh Gill, a man from Sirsari village. "Drink driving is another cause of road accidents," said Balwinder Singh Aulakh, president of the Lok Chetna Manch of Aulakh village. "Many people drive at night after drunken wedding parties."
The traffic police and transport department have failed to curb traffic-rule violation. "Many unsafe improvised vehicles are on road," said Rajinder Jassal of Kotkapura.
Narrow and unguarded bridges and sudden curves, such as on the road to Chamelei, Nangal, Dhudhi, and Kaler villages, and the highway between Kotkapura and Amritsar, are examples of bad design. "These have caused many fatal accidents," said Balkaran Singh, president of the Naujvan Lok sabha of Nangal village. "The road to Bhana is also dangerous and it is on the edge of a drain."