At least 168,491 people were killed on India’s roads last year, data released by the government shows.
The fatalities recorded in 2022 represent an increase of 9.4% on the previous year, a new report by India’s transport ministry said.
Seven out of every 10 lives, or 70%, were lost due to speeding, it added.
Road accidents are common in India, often due to poor driving or badly maintained roads and vehicles.
The report, which was released on Tuesday, said that the country lost 462 lives a day and 19 lives every hour to road accidents last year.
Road accidents also injured 443,000 people in the country and the number of accidents rose by 11.9% between 2021 and 2022. Most of these were caused by vehicles being hit from the back or hit-and-run cases, the report said.
The southern state Tamil Nadu accounted the highest number of accidents followed by the central state of Madhya Pradesh, the report said.
It added that the country did manage to buck the trend momentarily in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.
Data shows that there was an “unprecedented decrease” in accidents and deaths, particularly during the months of March and April when the country imposed a countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, the transport ministry said. But the numbers picked up again.
The ministry said it has been making efforts to curb the problem such as improving the design of roads, increasing surveillance on highways and imposing “stiff penalties” for traffic violations.
In an interview with MoneyControl website last month, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that government intervention would not be enough unless citizens start following traffic rules more seriously.
“Frankly speaking, we are not satisfied, and are not seeing a fall in accidents because we need to change human behaviour,” he said.
A World Bank study shows that road crashes are estimated to cost the Indian economy between 5-7% of GDP a year.
More than half of the victims are pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists and almost 84% of all fatalities are among road users between the working ages of 18-60 years, it said.
Source : BBC