With cars and bikes off the roads for most part of this year, thanks to lockdowns and travel bans due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic, India has witnessed a significant drop in number of road accidents in 2020.
According to report submitted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in Parliament on Thursday, India witnessed 35% less accidents on road in the first six months of this year, compared to the same period in the previous six years. Less accidents also meant less fatalities, which has come down by around 30%.
India, on an average, witnesses about 5 lakh road accidents per annum in which about 1.5 lakh people die and about 3 lakh are crippled.
The number of accidents from April to June this year (50,336) was 55% less than the corresponding number last year (1,12,215). In terms of fatalities in road accidents, 56,288 people died in the first six months of this year compared to 79,678 in the same period last year, a drop of about 30%.
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On an average, nearly 2,48,000 road accidents were reported between January and June each year between 2014 and 2019. The month-wise breakup of accidents for the previous years is from annual reports on road accidents published by the ministry of road transport and highways, and annual reports on accidental deaths and suicides published by the ministry of home affairs.
There was a drop in the number of road accidents between 2019 and 2020 in all states and union territories except three small northeastern states – Meghalaya, Sikkim and Nagaland. Among big states, the largest percentage drop in the number of road accidents was seen in Karnataka (48%). Delhi reported a 46% drop in accidents this year.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is also working on improved traffic system to bring down the numbers further in coming days. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said that there is a need for a policy on public private partnership (PPP) model for an intelligent traffic system to reduce road accidents. He also said it is his endeavour to reduce these numbers by at least 25 per cent by the fiscal-end.
Earlier this year, Gadkari reaffirmed India's commitment to the United Nation’s goal set under the UN Decade of Action of drastically reducing road accidents by 2030.