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In India, roads often lead to the casualty ward

India's track record of road accidents is after all, pretty disturbing and the statistics are quite alarming.

twitter-logoE Kumar Sharma | July 10, 2015 | Updated 15:59 IST

E Kumar Sharma, associate editor
While Hema Malini, the BJP MP and actor has chosen to blame the Maruti Alto driver for the accident involving the collision with her Mercedes even as the police is investigating the matter, the tragic death of a four-year-old child should be a warning sign to drivers and a cause for major concern to the road regulatory authorities.

India's track record of road accidents is after all, pretty disturbing and the statistics are quite alarming. Consider this: a research paper available on the website of the Central Road Research Institute(CRRI), the premier national research organisation for highways traffic and transport planning and all other allied aspects, says, "every hour there are about 56 accidents (about one accident every minute).

Similarly, every hour more than 14 deaths occur due to road accidents i.e. one death in every four minutes." Road traffic injury, the research paper says, is not seen as a major public health concern in India even though these contribute considerably to the disease burden.

This is also highlighted by the scarce health research output on road traffic injury from India. The research report is of 2013 but things on the ground have apparently not changed much. That they will remain a matter of concern is also linked to the fact that India has one of the largest road networks in the world at around 3.5 million km. There are other studies too that point to some worrying trends.

For instance, a report on accidental deaths and suicides in India released in 2014 by the National Crime Records Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the percentage share of road accident deaths in total un-natural deaths in India has stayed quite high at around 37 per cent between 2009 and 2013.

The share was 37.9 per cent in 2009 with 126,896 road accidents and the number of accidents was up to 137,423 in 2013 though the number of deaths was marginally lower at 36.4 per cent.

During this period, the study says the number of vehicles rose from 89.6 million to 1.6 billion. Also, the top three modes of transport in these accidents are two-wheelers (wonder when people will take wearing of helmets seriously!), followed by those involving truck/lorry and finally, cars.

Worrying numbers indeed, since roads are meant to take a person from point A to point B, not to the casualty wards of hospitals or even worse, like the little girl, who could not even make it to the hospital.

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