Chennai toppled Mumbai with maximum number of road accidents in the country last year, while Delhi retained its notorious distinction of a teeming metro, whose streets are nothing short of a death trap.
A total of 7,328 accidents occurred in Chennai resulting in 886 deaths, as per the latest figures released by the Union Road Ministry. With 1,591 road fatalities, Delhi occupied the pole position, while with 1,183 deaths Chennai came second among the million plus cities in the country.
Delhi was followed by Jaipur (890 deaths), Bengaluru (835 deaths) and Kanpur (684 deaths), said the report.
Kannur in Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir’s capital Srinagar with 52 and 51 fatalities, respectively, were the safest cities in the country, according to the report.
As far as severity of accidents is concerned, Punjab roads have an unenviable reputation === with 69.9 deaths reported per hundred accidents in Ludhiana, followed by 67.1 fatalities in Amritsar.
Urban vs. rural
When it comes to number of accidents in urban vs rural areas, the latter, contrary to popular perception, saw more accidents.
Of the total 480,652 accidents reported in the country, 263,839 or 54.9%, occurred in rural areas. Urban areas accounted for the rest --- 45.1% or 216,813 incidents.
Most deadly month
With 43,368 accidents, May was the cruelest month for Indian roads, followed by March (42,834 accidents) and April (42,010) 2016. In term of deaths, 14,091 died in May, while 13,856 succumbed in April.
With 36,929 accidents and over 11,000 deaths, September was the least bloody month, according to the same study.
Timing of accidents
Belying the prevalent notion that maximum number of accidents occur during late night and early morning, the report found that Indian roads were most deadly during late afternoon and evening rush hours.
Of the total 480,652 road accidents reported last year, 85,834 or 17.9% occurred between 3 pm and 6 pm. Over the next 3 hours-- i.e. between 6 pm to 9 pm -- 17.6% of the total or 84,555 road accidents occurred on Indian roads.
Roads were the safest between mid-night and 3 am with 5.4% of the total or 25,976 accidents reported during the small hours.
Factors responsible for accidents
The data busts another popular myth that drink driving is the main cause of accidents on Indian roads. While driving under the influence remains a persistent problem and a serious concern, it isn’t the biggest single factor. Overspeeding is a killer habit.
The report under the category of ‘accidents due to drivers’ fault’ says close to two-third or 66.5% of the total mishaps on Indian roads last year occurred due to ignoring the prescribed speed limit. A total of 73,896 (61%) precious lives were lost due to overspeeding.
Overtaking was the next big reason, which caused 9,462 or 7.8% of the deaths.
The third-biggest reason was driving on wrong side, which cost 5,705 lives, followed by driving under influence of alcohol & drugs that resulted in 6,131 accidents.
Also, government’s drive to dissuade drivers from using mobile phones while driving doesn’t seems to be working much. In 2016, as many as 4967 accidents resulting into 2138 deaths occurred due to distraction caused by cell phones while driving.
Licence & road accidents
Putting a big question mark over the unethical practices of issuing licence, the data says, an overwhelming number of accidents i.e. 84.6% were caused by people holding regular licence compared to ones with learner’s permits (8.7%).