Mumbai is one of the worst cities when it comes to roads and infrastructure. Many tourists who visit city made fun of Mumbai roads; Maharashtra gained the dubious discrepancy of being the second worst in road fatalities. Recently, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways showed an 8.1 percent increase in accident deaths in the state in 2018, as compared to 2017, when it held third rank in the country. Devendra Fadnavis during the year 2014 came up with election promise of making Mumbai pothole free but he failed to fulfill the same. There is always a giant potholed sized mystery about the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. In responses to RTI queries, it has regularly claimed to have addressed over 99 per cent of complaints about the craters that dot every road in the city and its suburbs, and yet there are thousands of potholes all across Mumbai. And it is not as if only aesthetics are in question; there have been pothole-caused fatalities on the roads. Just this year, at least five deaths have been reported in Mumbai and MMR areas of Thane, Bhiwandi, Belapur, Mira-Bhayandar due to accidents caused by potholes. So are people not complaining enough, or are the complaints not being given due attention? This seemed to be the central question that India’s richest municipal corporation was trying to answer earlier this month when it announced its Pothole Challenge 2019, a public road crater spotting competition that dangled the carrot of Rs 500 to every complainant whose pothole was not fixed within 24 hours. What’s more, this prize money was to come out of the local engineer’s salary.
Two-wheelers made up the biggest share of accidents and Maharashtra ranked second where deaths of motorcyclists is concerned; 5,938 two-wheeler riders were killed last year. Highways accounted for nearly 60 percent of all accidents.
When asked a senior traffic official told AV, “At least 25 accidents reported in the state last year had more than five fatalities each. This led to the overall number of fatalities shooting up, the over speeding is a prime cause. Indiscipline driving could be another, officers added.”
In July 2018, 33 passengers were killed after a private bus carrying employees of a Dapoli college plunged into a deep gorge at Ambenali Ghat in Poladpur. Only one person who was thrown out of the bus window survived. In another accident in Buldhana, 15 were killed when two private luxury buses collided. Over speeding at highways takes many lives, 100kmph on expressways and 50kmph on hilly roads and Ghats. On national highways, the limit is 90kmph and on urban roads 60kmph, but people don’t follow rules.
Superintendent, highway police Vijay Patil said, “We strongly recommend driving licenses for suspension of those found speeding, jumping signals, drunk driving or talking on the phone while driving. The suspensions, made by RTO, would last for three months. Another reason for surge in accidents is wrong overtaking by smaller vehicles. When heavy vehicles are moving on the right side of the road, smaller vehicles tend to overtake from the left. We have been carrying out awareness campaigns throughout the year about disciplined driving”, “As junctions are where maximum fatalities occur, we have written to agencies like NHAI, PWD and MSRDC to put in speed calming measures at junctions. Wherever dividers are absent, flexible dividers can be brought in as a temporary measure,” Patil added.
Overall, 35,717 accidents were reported in the state last year, which was a slight dip from 35,853 in 2017. The highest at-risk road users in 2018 were those aged 25-35 as 3,129 fatalities were reported in the age group. The evening peak hour period of 6 pm-9 pm turned out to be the worst time of the day for road-users as 6,112 deaths were reported. Traffic Police have started a mechanism to recover pending e-challans from motorists, hoping this will act as a deterrent and bring down serious violations that could result in deaths.
Road accidents in India are a major source of deaths, injuries and property damage every year. As India is growing economically, so are the road accidents.
Among vehicle categories involved in road accidents, two-wheelers accounted for the highest share (33.9%) in total accidents and fatalities (29.8%) in 2017.
Year- Road accident deaths
- Two Wheelers Road Accidents: 43,540 deaths
- Trucks/Lorries Road Accidents: 28,910 deaths
- Cars Road Accidents: 18,506 deaths
- Buses Road Accidents: 12,408 deaths
The NCRB 2016 report states that road accidents accounted for 464,674 accidents which caused 148,707 traffic-related deaths in India.
According to the report prepared by the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in 2017 nearly three persons died every ten minutes in road accidents across India.
More than 13,095 killed in road mishaps in Maharashtra in 2018. More than 13,000 people were killed in 35,957 road accidents in Maharashtra in 2018.
400 deaths a day are forcing India to take car safety seriously. Many small vehicles sold in India a zero-star safety rating, an assessment that there could be life threatening injuries in a crash at 40 miles per hour. In India, more than 150,000 people were killed this year in traffic accidents.