India Records Highest-Ever Road Accident Fatalities in the Past Year

Despite significant government investment in infrastructure, India is grappling with an alarming increase in road accidents. The year 2022 reached a record high, with more than 460,000 accidents resulting in the loss of 168,491 lives.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways' annual report on road accidents shows that in 2022, 461,312 incidents were recorded across states and union territories, resulting in 443,366 injuries. This year saw an 11.9% increase in accidents, 9.4% increase in deaths and 15.3% increase in injuries compared to 2021.

The report emphasizes the urgency of adopting a comprehensive approach to address the factors contributing to these accidents, which include speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving and non-compliance with traffic rules, the ministry said. It is vital that we strengthen enforcement mechanisms, enhance driver education and training programs, and invest in improving the conditions of roads and vehicles.

The issue highlights the rising fatality ratio in road accidents in India. While 2022 recorded more road accidents than the previous 12 calendar years, the latter resulted in more deaths than ever before. 2019 had the second-highest number of deaths, 10,000 fewer than in 2022.

Although deaths have declined in relation to the number of vehicle registrations over the past decades, 2022 saw the highest number of deaths in relation to Indian population, at 12.2 deaths per one lakh people.

Despite several interventions at the state and central levels, there has been limited improvement in road safety metrics, which has been a major concern for Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.

The annual report relies on data provided by State/Union Territory Police Departments in formats established by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific under the Asia Pacific Road Accident Database Project. This data serves as the primary source for international monitoring of road safety parameters, with India ranking among the worst performing countries. India has the highest number of road accident deaths globally, despite the fact that accidents in the United States are almost six times more frequent than in India.

The report also shows that despite substantial investment to improve highway infrastructure, 33% of all road accidents and 35% of fatal accidents occurred on national highways and expressways. In FY24, the highways ministry received the highest allocation from the Union Budget, amounting to Rs 2.7 trillion.

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