Although Tamil Nadu has taken definitive steps to prevent and reduce the number of road accidents, it still tops the list.
The State also came third in accident-related deaths with 12,216 deaths in 2018, a 24 per cent drop from 16,157 in 2017. The State had been ranked number two since 2014 in accident-related deaths.
With an over 10 per cent share of all registered vehicles in India and accounting for 13.7 per cent of total accidents in the country in 2018, the State needs to do more to reduce the number of accidents.
It must implement preventive and enforcement measures such as awareness camps on a mass scale, campaigns against drunk driving, educating and training drivers (especially those who drive heavy commercial vehicles), strictly adhere to all conditions for granting licences, equip its traffic police force with advanced technologies, and come down heavily on offenders by cancelling their licences, imposing hefty fines, impounding their vehicles, and even imprisoning habitual violators.
Rural areas more vulnerable
In 2018, as many as 839 drivers were killed, 5,067 drivers injured, 775 passengers killed and 4,988 injured in the State on account of not wearing a seat belt.
Driving without helmet claimed the lives of 3,956 drivers and injured 20,378, while 1,092 passengers were killed and over 6,160 injured during 2018. Of those involved in road accidents, 50,519 had a valid permanent licence, 2,247 had learner’s licence, and 6,454 had no licence.
Wine and liquor shops on highways have been shut down. The State-level control room has been activated to monitor highway-patrolling teams (fitted with GPS). In addition, use of technology for e-challans issued through smart POS integrated with VAHAN, and the use of automated number plate reading cameras for speed enforcement have been undertaken. Nationally, the biggest percentage increase in accidents and persons killed in 2018 was in the two-wheelers and the Heavy Articulated Vehicles (HAV) categories. Two wheelers account for 70 per cent share.
Of 4,67,044 accidents in 2018, two wheelers accounted for the highest share of 35.2 per cent, followed by four wheelers (cars, jeeps, vans, taxis, etc.) accounting for 24.3 per cent, and trucks and other heavy vehicles at 12.3 per cent. Among other segments, unspecified vehicles under the category 'others' alone accounted for 7 per cent of the road accidents.
Of the 1,51,417 accident-related deaths in 2018, two-wheelers accounted for the highest share of 31.4 per cent followed by cars, jeeps, vans and taxis with 20.3 per cent, and heavy vehicles like trucks and lorries at 15.8 per cent, and unspecified vehicles under the category 'others' contributing 9.3 per cent. In technical terms, ‘others’ includes pedestrians, animals, trees and other fixed objects.
Wearing helmets, safety belts while driving, not using mobile phones, refraining from daring acts and overspeeding, being extra careful and attentive to other vehicles on the road-especially at night- and extreme weather conditions, carrying proper licence, regular check-up of vehicles, not overloading vehicles and following traffic rules will go a long way in saving lives, say those handling road accident-trauma cases.
The Modi government passed the amended MV Act this year to help reduce road accidents. But the State government will have the ultimate responsibility to implement the law.