Dip in fatal accidents this year but deaths by public transport vehicles rise
Delhi reported an 18.5% dip in fatal road accidents this year but the number of deaths caused by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses, tractors and Grameen Sewa tempos saw a rise, data released by traffic police shows.
The data says the number of people killed in road accidents in Delhi till November 3 this year was 17.7% less compared to the corresponding period last year.
While accidents caused by DTC buses went up from 12 in 2018 (till October 31) to 17 in 2019 between the same period, cluster buses caused 14 fatalities in 2018 between the same period, which went up to 21 in 2019.
Further, the data shows, tractors caused 14 fatalities in 2018 (till October 31), which increased to 17 in 2019 (till October 31). Five fatal accidents by Grameen Sewa tempos were reported in 2018 (till October 31), which went up to seven in 2019 between the same period.
Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning, School of Planning and Architecture, said public transport systems’ employees need to be trained in safe driving. “Like doctors and engineers, regular training sessions and classes must be organised for drivers of public transport. They need sensitisation and need to be made aware of traffic violations and regulations,” he said.
The total number of fatal accidents dipped by 18.5% from 1,416 in 2018, between January 1 and November 3 , to 1,154 in 2019, in the same period. The traffic police data further shows that between the same period in 2019, the number of people killed in road accidents was 1,154, which is 257 fewer than in the last year.
The substantial dip comes in the wake of another set of data recently released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (Morth), which showed Delhi accounted for the most number of road fatalities among all Indian cities in 2018 and 2017.
The number of road accident deaths in Delhi in 2018 had gone up by 6.7% compared to the previous year, Morth reported. Over 44% of all 1,690 deaths on Delhi’s roads last year were found to be caused by speeding, the ministry reported.
The police data showed roads were safer for pedestrians this year. The number of pedestrians killed in accidents up to October 31 this year went down by 17.7% to 544 compared to 661 in the corresponding period last year.
The number of motorcycle riders killed in road accidents till October 31 this year also reduced by 17.46%, falling from 464 to 383, in the same time frame.
Special commissioner of police (traffic) Taj Hasan said the significant decrease in road fatalities in 2019 was a result of the high prosecution rates and enforcement.
“We prosecuted 952,000 people for not wearing helmets. The number of triple-riding prosecutions was 1,57,582. Speeding attracted 1,00,948 prosecutions and 14,858 people were prosecuted for using mobile phones while driving,” Hasan said.
S. Velmurugan, senior principal scientist and former head of Traffic Engineering and Safety Division of the Central Road Research Institute, said the primary reasons why deaths in fatal accidents are coming down are increased traffic congestion and enforcement by police. “While in peak hours, the number of fatal accidents went down primarily because congestion has increased, speed and signal violation-recording cameras may have caused deterrence in lean hours when drivers tend to speed,” he said.
Senior police officers said most fatalities happen between 9 pm and 4 am. The police data also shows that number of such accidents in Delhi also went down in 2019 in comparison to last year.
In 2018, till October 31, fatal accidents reported between 9pm and 12 am were 294 which in 2019, between the same period, reduced to 227.
Between 12 am and 4 am, while 2018, till October 31, reported 256 fatal accidents, this year the number came down to 226.
The special commissioner said decrease in number of fatal accidents between 9 pm to 4 am also came down because of the speed curbing measures taken up by traffic police with help of road owning agencies.
“During the night hours when number of traffic staff on road is less, road curbing measures taken up with the help of road owning agencies helped us in bringing down number of accidents. We also re-planned our deployment at stretches prone to accidents during night hours,” Hasan said.