NEW DELHI (TIP): Chances of getting killed in a road accident is the highest in Amritsar and in the country’s Mercedes capital Ludhiana. Latest data on road fatalities shows that at least six people died in every 10 road crashes in these two cities in 2012 against only three in Delhi, which recorded maximum fatalities in 2012.
Though Mumbai recorded the highest number of accidents among 50 millionplus cities, the fatality rate was only 2%. The ‘Road Accidents in India’ report prepared by the transport research wing of the road ministry also shows that roads in Punjab are proving to be fatal for commuters. The severity of accident – deaths per 100 mishaps – in the state has been increasing in the past four years.
While it was 65.9% in 2009, this increased to 76% in 2012. “Ludhiana and Amritsar are the worst examples. But the state as a whole is also losing over 4,800 lives in road accidents. We have heterogeneous traffic, little enforcement of no-entry timings and huge problem of drink driving,” said Dr Kamalzit Singh Soi, vicechairman of Punjab Road Safety Council.
The industrial city of Ludhiana has around 1.4 million vehicles for its 3.5 million people, of whom 20- 30% are migrant labourers. Soi said traffic coming from six districts passed through the city and almost 23 km of the under-expansion Panipat-Jalandhar highway runs through the urban area. “On top of this, annually around 35 crore bottles of liquor are sold in the state that has a population of only 2.7 crore.
Out of this, around 1.49 crore are women. So, we can make out how many times and how many people drive in a drunken state,” he said. The ministry’s data also exposes how over 80% of road fatalities are reported from smaller towns and rural areas where there is little or no traffic regulation. Out of the 1.38 lakh fatalities in road accidents last year, 1.21 lakh people died in these areas. States including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana have put a check on fatalities with Uttar Pradesh bringing it down from 21,512 in 2011 to 16,149 last year.
Road safety expert Rohit Baluja said there was no traffic regulation or penalty on violations responsible for accidents on highways. “There are all kinds of violations including lane changing, speeding and drunk driving. We talk of traffic rule enforcement only in 12-13 cities, all important state capitals.
In urban areas, where deaths have reduced, the main reason is increasing congestion. Focus of traffic police in cities has now shifted to dealing with congestion than managing traffic or enforcement,” he said. Baluja also said the crackdown on drunk driving was only confined to private vehicles in cities.