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Road accidents kill 34 people daily in country’s North: Union transport ministry report

12,481 were killed in mishaps across Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in 2016, as per Centre’s report

punjab Updated: Sep 18, 2017 19:54 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Road accidents,Union transport ministry report,road safety
Of these, seven human lives were snuffed daily while walking or cycling on the roads.(HT File/Representative image )

At least 34 people were killed every day in road accidents across Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir last year.

These mishaps claimed a whopping 12,481 lives in 2016 as compared to 11,914 people killed in road accidents in 2015, according to ‘Road Accidents in India-2016’ report of the union ministry of road transport on the roads of the four northern states and the union territory (UT) of Chandigarh.

Of these, seven human lives were snuffed daily while walking or cycling on the roads. In Punjab alone, 5,077 people died in road crashes from January to December, with an average of 14 people daily. Equally bloody was the scene in Haryana where death toll in road crashes last year was 5024. While the road accidents in Himachal Pradesh claimed 1,271 lives, the toll in J&K was 958.

The City Beautiful roads witnessed death of 151 people in 2016, up from 129 in 2015.

Must read | Woman dies after being hit by truck on Chandigarh’s Airport Road, family says she waited 45 minutes for help

Vulnerable pedestrians

The scrutiny of the data points out that pedestrians are the most vulnerable lot. In Haryana 1,596 pedestrians, including 180 women, were killed. Haryana stood at the fourth slot — after Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh — in death of pedestrians on the roads.

In Punjab, 433 pedestrians, including 60 women, lost their lives. A total of 2,339 pedestrians were killed due to apparent rash driving in the region. Of these, 214 were in Himachal, 58 in J&K and 38 in Chandigarh.

Similarly, 333 cyclists were killed last year across the region---102 in Haryana, 202 in Punjab, and 28 in Chandigarh and one in J&K.

‘Solution lies in having footpaths’

The solution lies in having footpaths or safe walking space. The Punjab and Haryana high court is seized of this vital issue,” Navdeep Asija, a leading road safety expert, says.

“From 2013 to 2015, the share of pedestrian and cyclist deaths in total road accidents deaths is on the rise in urban cities of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh,” said Asija, who has petitioned the high court, seeking directions for the “right to walk”. “Over 50% fatalities out of the total road accident deaths in cities such as Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Mohali and Bathinda are of the pedestrians or cyclists.”

The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued a notice in this regard to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The two states and the UT will file replies on September 22 about the steps being taken for the safety of the pedestrians.

The data indicates that deaths of the pedestrians and cyclists continue to rise in Punjab. In 2014, as many as 566 people —cyclists and pedestrians — were killed in road crashes while the number rose to 635 in 2016.

Also read | Over 10,000 killed on Delhi roads in 6 yrs

Without licence, hit-and-run cases

Shockingly, the BJP-ruled Haryana is among the top seven states in the country where 2,018 drivers involved in the road accidents were without licence.

In Himachal, 1,026 accidents were recorded in this category, followed by 588 in J&K, 381 in Punjab. There was no such accident in Chandigarh. Behind a majority of accidents in Punjab and Haryana, the drivers involved were Class 10 pass-outs. While drivers in Punjab who dropped out of school after Class 8 caused the minimum 902 accidents, those qualified above Class 10 were involved in maximum 2,207 road crashes.

But in Himachal where total 3,168 accidents took place, no accident was recorded involving drivers who studied up to Class 8 even as in 501 cases, the qualification of the drivers involved was not known.

Haryana was ahead of Punjab in hit-and-run cases with 2,955 accidents in comparison to 1,452 in Punjab. In Haryana, 1,381 people were killed and 2,713 were injured, while in Punjab 1,056 people were killed.

Besides, 21 people were killed in 66 hit-and-run cases recorded in Chandigarh. As many as 207 people were killed in Himachal and 89 in J&K in such accidents.

First Published: Sep 18, 2017 10:24 IST