Campaigns fail to put brakes on pothole mishaps, U.P. on top with 55.4% deaths
Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of deaths in road accidents due to potholes in India, accounting for 55.49% of total fatalities. Prayagraj and Kanpur top the list among India's large cities. Other states with high death tolls include Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam. Several states and union territories reported no accidents attributed to potholes. Lack of road safety audits, regular maintenance, and use of inferior construction materials are contributing factors.
Despite launching statewide campaigns every year after the monsoon to free all its roads of potholes, Uttar Pradesh has, yet again, emerged as the state with the highest number of deaths in road accidents attributed to potholes in the country in 2022.
Prayagraj (Allahabad) and Kanpur top the list among India’s 50 million-plus cities in 2022 on this parameter, according to a recent report released by the Union ministry of road transport and highways.
Uttar Pradesh alone reported 1,030 deaths in 1,986 cases of road accidents attributed to potholes, accounting for a staggering 55.49% of the total fatalities caused due to potholes-related mishaps in the country, the same report added.
The state also accounted for 44.6% of the mishaps caused due to potholes nationwide, injuring 1421 individuals, 38% of the total persons injured in the country.
Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Assam were other states reporting a high number of deaths in road mishaps due to potholes, at 107, 199 and 117 respectively.
According to the report, at least eight states/Union Territories reported no road accidents attributed to potholes. They were Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Ladakh and Lakshadweep. Maharashtra, that is bigger than UP in size and also has the highest number of registered vehicles, reported four deaths in as many mishaps caused due to potholes.
Among the country’s 50 million-plus cities also, Uttar Pradesh cities in this category had the highest share in the number of fatalities and persons injured in mishaps due to potholes. As many 197 people were killed and 491 injured in 600 reported cases of road mishaps attributed to potholes in 2022.
Uttar Pradesh’s eight million-plus cities together reported 364 such accidents, that is 60.66% of total potholes-related accidents nationwide. Their contribution in fatalities and in the number of persons injured was even higher at 82.74% and 58.65%, respectively.
With 78 fatalities in 165 cases of road accidents attributed to potholes, Prayagraj was on the top among the 50 million-plus cities in India followed by Kanpur where 51 people died and 90 were injured in 115 cases of similar mishaps in 2022.
In Lucknow, nine people were killed and 32 injured in 29 road mishaps due to potholes. In Varanasi, 13 people were killed and 15 injured in 24 cases of such accidents. In Agra, three individuals died and nine were injured in six cases of such accidents while Meerut reported nine deaths and 28 injuries in 25 cases of these mishaps. Ghaziabad was the only million-plus city in Uttar Pradesh to report zero road accidents attributed to potholes.
By contrast, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Chennai, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Patna, Jabalpur and Jodhpur were prominent among the 30 of the 50 million-plus cities of the country reporting zero road accidents attributed to broken roads.
Last week only, the government claimed to have filled 99% of the potholes on roads in the state following a drive by the departments concerned.
The state, however, continues to report the highest number road of accidents due to potholes and resultant fatalities every year.
“These are a result of multiple factors, including lack of road safety audits and regular maintenance along with the use of inferior quality road construction material. Heavy traffic, overloaded trucks coupled with faulty drainage and waterlogging and seepage witnessed during the rainy season all damage roads,” said a senior transport department official requesting anonymity.