Traffic collisions in India

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Multiple vehicle collision occurred on a busy road crossing at office time in Kolkata.

The frequency of traffic collisions in India is amongst the highest in the world. A National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report revealed that every year, more than 135,000 traffic collision-related deaths occur in India.[1]

Extent of traffic accidents[edit]

Tamil Nadu records the highest road accidents for a decade and its capital Chennai has more accidents than any other city in India.

Accident data in Tamil Nadu
Year Accidents Casualties
2000 8,269 9,300
2001 8,579 9,571
2002 9,012 9,939
2003 8,393 9,275
2004 8,733 9,507
2005 8,844 9,760
2006 10,055 11,009
2007 11,034 12,036
2008 11,813 12,784
2009 12,727 13,746
2010 14,241 15,409
2011 14,359 15,422
2012 15,072 16,175
2013 14,504 15,563
Footnote: Sources:[2]

In New Delhi, the capital of India, the frequency of traffic collisions is 40 times higher than the rate in London, the capital of the United Kingdom.[3]

Traffic collision-related deaths increased from 13 per hour in 2008 to 14 per hour in 2009. More than 40 per cent of these casualties are associated with motorcycles and trucks. The most accident-prone time on Indian roads is during the peak hour at afternoon and evening.[1]

According to road traffic safety experts, the actual number of casualties may be higher than what is documented, as many traffic accidents go unreported. Moreover, victims who die some time after the accident, a span of time which may vary from a few hours to several days, are not counted as car accident victims.[1]

In 2015, one person dies every 4 minutes in roads accidents in India, according to NGO 'Indians for Road Safety'.[1]

India stands out miserably in the latest World Health Organisation's (WHO) "Global Road Safety Report-2015" with an estimated 207,551 deaths on roads.

Contributing factors[edit]

Unsafe travel on motorcycles in Hyderabad.

The "GlobStatus Report on Road Safety" published by the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the major causes of traffic collisions as driving over the speed limit, driving under the influence, and not using helmets and seat belts.[1] Failure to maintain lane or yield to oncoming traffic when turning are prime causes of accidents on four lane, non-access controlled National Highways. The report noted users of motorcycles and motor-powered three-wheelers constitute the second largest group of traffic collision deaths.[4]

Economic cost[edit]

The Planning Commission in its 2001–2003 research estimated that traffic collision resulted in an annual monetary loss of $10 billion (INR 550 billion) during the years 1999–2000. In 2012, the International Road Federation (IRF) estimated that traffic collision results in an annual monetary loss of $20 billion (INR 1 trillion (short scale)) in India. This figure includes expenses associated with the accident victim, property damage and administration expenses.[5]

Measures to reduce traffic collisions[edit]

The Campaign Against Drunken Driving (CADD) is an organization founded by Prince Singhal which is campaigning against driving under the influence. But this campaign has been ineffective.[1] The IRF asserts that people in India's political sphere do not have the will to curb traffic accidents. Harman Singh Siddhu of ArriveSafe, an organization working for improvement in road traffic safety, asserted that a general lack of respect for traffic rules in India is a contributing factor for road accidents.[6] He also has pointed out that although the 2010s was declared by the United Nations as "Decade of Action for Road Safety", no celebration was held in India.[5] CSIR - Central Road Research Institute has developed an online accident recording portal. The main purpose of this portal is to encourage people to report the accidents they see. A group of Indian Researchers have developed a low-cost device which prevents automobile drivers from receiving or making cellphone calls when at wheel, but allows calls to other passengers in the vehicle.[7]

Road safety policies in India[edit]

Road safety is emerging as a major social concern in the country and Indian government tackles this crucial issue for several years. The Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014 should provide a framework for safer, faster, cost-effective and inclusive movement of passengers and freight in India. In July 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government will soon introduce laws to enhance road safety as traffic fatalities and injuries mount.[8] A new Road Transport and Safety Bill is under preparation and a group of experts underlined the "urgent" need of a comprehensive national road safety legislation.[9]

Embarq India, an initiative from the World Resources Institute (WRI),[10] has developed significant expertise in conducting road safety audits on a number of bus rapid transit systems in India. Arrive SAFE is a NGO who works as a pressure group to give a wake-up call to authorities concerned and shake the bad driving habits of Indian people.[11] Indian driving schools focuses on youth to enhance the art and skill of efficient driving.[12]

Many multinational companies fund NGOs as part of their own road safety initiatives:

Maruti Suzuki closely works with Ministry of Tribal Development in Gujarat to train young people in driving.

Michelin, co-founder of the Global Road Safety Initiatives (GRSI), has established, in India, an innovative partnership with the foundation of PVR Cinemas, PVR Nest as part of its CineArt "Steer to Safety" program to educate and empower children about road safety. Through this platform, children learn how to prevent and/or manage in emergency situations on Indian roads.

Henkel has launched a road safety initiative in an effort to address the topical issue of safety standards on the road in India.

List of major accidents[edit]

Gujarat 2016

On 5 February 2016, at least 37 people died and 24 others were injured in Gujarat after a passenger bus plunged off a bridge over the Purna River.[13][14][15][16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Murali Krishnan (29 April 2010). "India has the highest number of road accidents in the world". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Accident details for Tamil Nadu in certain years" (PDF). State transport authority, Government of Tamil Nadu. 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  3. ^ TR Jain; Mukesh Trehan; Ranju Trehan. Indian Economy. FK Publications. p. 457. ISBN 978-81-87140-37-5. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Global Status Report on Road Safety: Country profiles: India (PDF) (Report). World Health Organization. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Road accidents cost India $20 bn every year". The Times of India. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "No U-Turn on Indian Road Safety". Harman Singh Siddhu. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Indian Engineers develop device which jams Cellphones of Car Drivers". IANS. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Philip, Siddharth. "India to Introduce Road Safety Law Reform, Modi Says". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Experts highlight need of comprehensive road safety law". timesofindia-economictimes. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "EMBARQ India | Helping cities make sustainable transport a reality". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "ArriveSAFE, Road Safety India". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Indian Traffic Rules Road Safety - Road Rage - Driving License in India". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "37 killed, 24 injured as bus plunges into river in Gujarat". IBNLive. 5 February 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  14. ^ "Bus plunges into river in India; 37 killed - Newspaper". 6 February 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "37 killed as bus plunges into river in Gujarat | india". Hindustan Times. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "37 Passengers Killed After A Bus Falls Into River In Gujarat". 5 February 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "37 killed as bus plunges into Purna river in Navsari". 5 February 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.