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Why are road accidents an everyday affair in India?

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At least 59 people were killed when an overcrowded Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) bus returning from Kondagattu Anjaneya Swamy Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman plunged down the hillside in Telangana’s Jagtial district.

 About 48 people were killed and 12 injured when a 28-seater bus travelling from Bhoan to Ramnagar plummeted into a 700 ft deep gorge in Pauri Garhwal. According to the police, bad weather and landslide was the reason why the bus skidded off the road and was hampering the rescue attempts. Only 20 people could be pulled out from the wreckage.

The accident created such a shock that even while sitting in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “extremely saddened” by the crash, “My deepest condolences for the bereaved families. I pray that those injured recover at the earliest.” he wrote.

At least 27 people including 23 children aged between 4 – 12 years old, were killed in the Kangra, when the bus they were travelling in, skidded off the road and plunged about 300 feet in a ravine. The private school bus, was carrying 34 children. President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, “Extremely saddened to learn about the tragic school bus accident in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.”

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Two people died and about a dozen were injured in Noida when a private coach travelling from Farrukhabad in UP to Delhi collided with a DTC bus headed towards Shahadara. At least 50 passengers were present in the private coach when the accident happened.

In another accident, fifty people were injured when a bus carrying 60 passengers from Govindpuri in Delhi to Haridwar fell into a ditch on the Delhi-Haridwar national highway near Muzaffarnagar in UP. According to the police report, the vehicle overturned due to a pothole on the road.

A bus fell over a bridge into a dry riverbed killing at least 26 students and teachers on board

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India has the dubious distinction of the highest number of road accidents in the world.

With over 135,000 deaths annually, India has overtaken China in terms of maximum and worst accidents, globally according to a report compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Till two years back, the International Road Federation placed India second behind China. But while China managed to reduce the number of road deaths from 100,000 to 90,000, India allowed it to go from bad to worse. The fatality rate in China is declining but rising rapidly in India.

Every day a large number of people are killed and injured on Delhi roads– which account for the highest number of fatal accidents in the country. Around 72 percent of them are in 15-44 year age group.  This numbers has doubled in the last decade.

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Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu come are not too far behind.

Most of these tragedies happen in small cities—like Kanpur, Nagpur, Lucknow and Pune.

Peak traffic hours in the afternoon and evening are the most dangerous time to be on the roads.

Poor and less privileged — pedestrians, cyclists, moped and motorcycle riders are among the most vulnerable road users.

According to the National Transport Planning and Research Centre, there is a road accident every minute and one death on the road every four minutes in India. Almost 97% of these accidents are due to rash or negligent driving.

Every hour, 40 people under 25 die in accidents around the globe. According to the WHO, road accidents are the second most important cause of death among 5 to 29 year olds.

Also Read: Road hypnosis: How to avoid it?

Around 1.25 million people are killed and 20-50 million are seriously injured in a road accident every year. According to an International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD) report, every day, more than 500 children die in a traffic collision, and tens of thousands are injured.

In reality the exact number of fatalities is much higher as many accidents are not even reported. For instance, there is no record of people who were injured in a road accident but died a few hours or days later. The cause of their death is not even be listed as due to a road traffic accident. According to a Bangalore based study, 5−10% deaths and 50% of the injuries are not included in official reports.

As per a World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) report most of the deaths and injuries in road accidents all over the world are preventable.

This brings us to the questions, what is the cause of road accidents? Why do accidents occur so often and lead to so many deaths and disabilities?

Well, the simple answer to this is that buses are big, heavy vehicles on road, hence unlike car– bus accidents have an unusually high impact because of the size and weight of buses as well as number of passengers.

Assuming that the average weight per passenger in a bus is 52 kg, the cumulative weight of passengers in a 45 seater bus is over 2340 Kg. In comparison an average passenger car weighs about 1360 Kilo, while a fully-loaded bus weighs about 19,050 kilo. Due to this disproportionate size, an accident between a bus and another vehicle is serious, and leads to more fatal, injuries.

Delhi Transport Corporation – with 5,000 buses is the worst killer followed by Pallavan Transport Corporation in Chennai, nicknamed as– Pallavan Kollavan or Pallavan killers in Tamil.

According to the first ever WHO Global Road Safety Report the “human factor” or “might is right” attitude of the heavy vehicle drivers, is a leading cause behind many road accidents. Many of the drivers are maniacs in a hurry, who do not follow traffic rules, over speed, overtake from the wrong side, and drive under the influence of liquor.

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Ankit Mahajan
Ankit Mahajan
Ankit Mahajan the dynamic Chief of Bureau of Taazakhabar News is like a fire and forget missile that is sure to hit the target. A meticulous planner with an eye for detail, he never gives up and makes his presence felt in everything he does.


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