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Road Accidents in India

The Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways publishes an annual report of accidents, related deaths and injuries, calendar year-wise, based on information supplied by the Police Departments of States and UTs in a set of standardized formats approved by the Committee on Road Safety. The following information is an abstract of the present volume of 'Road accidents in India 2019' that provides information on various aspects of road accidents.

Road Accidents scenario in India

  • India is a signatory to the second global high level Conference on Road Safety held in Brazil in 2015, referred to popularly as the Brasilia declaration, which, inter-alia, resolved to halve the deaths and injuries from accidents by 2020 and to include this target in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development by the participating countries.
  • Road accidents continue to be a leading cause of death, disabilities and hospitalization in the country despite our commitment and efforts. India ranks first in the number of road accident deaths across the 199 countries and accounts for almost 11% of the accident related deaths in the World.
  • A total number of 449,002 accidents took place in the country during the calendar year 2019leading to 151,113 deaths and 451,361 injuries. In percentage terms, the number of accidents decreased by 3.86 % in 2019over that of the previous year, while the accident related deaths decreased by 0.20 % and the persons injured decreased by 3.86. 
  • Road accidents have been profiled by road category, type of impacting vehicle, type of collision, age of victim, gender and road user category which inter-alia bring out the following:
    • National Highways which comprise of 2.03 percent of total road network, continued to account for a disproportionate share of 35.7 per cent of deaths in 2019 pointing to need for improved enforcement and correctives to be put on National Highways.  State Highways which account for
      3.01% of the road length accounted for 24.8 percent of deaths. Other Roads which constitute about 95 % of the total roads were responsible for the balance 39% deaths respectively, and electronic monitoring of the same.
    • Further, National Highways falling under the administrative control of NHAI account for 66 percent of road accident related deaths followed by National Highways falling under State PWD which account for 25 percent of Road Accident deaths. The remaining 9 percent Road Accident deaths are accounted for by National Highways under other Departments.
    • Two wheelers account for 35% of total road accident deaths on National Highways falling under NHAI, followed by cars, taxis, Vans & LMVs (18.6%) and pedestrians(14%) followed by share of Trucks of (10.7%) and share of buses of (4.9%) and share of bicycles at (2.9%) . These are not very different from the percentage share for these road user categories for National Highways as a whole and accordingly requisite change in the design of the road/speed etc that may be warranted needs to be initiated by all the controlling agencies for NH
    • The working age group of 18 – 60 accounted for a share of 84 percent in the total road accident deaths.
    • The share of males in number of total accident deaths was 86% while the share of females hovered around 14% in 2019.
    • In 2019, the Ministry focused on the identification and rectification of Black spots and identified 5583 black spots in the country in 2018.
  • Road accidents are multi-causal and are often the result of an interplay of various factors. like (i) human error (ii) road environment and (iii) vehicular condition. The information received from the States/UTs on the causes of road accidents brings out inter-alia the following:
    • Under the category of Traffic Rule Violations, over speeding is a major killer, accounting for 67.3% of the persons killed followed by driving on the wrong side of the road which accounted for 6.1% of the accident related deaths. Use of mobile phones accounted for 3.3% of the deaths with drunken driving accounting for 3.5% of the persons killed. Further the numbers of persons killed for these reasons in 2019 were much higher than in
      2018 suggesting need for improved enforcement of MVA 2019.
    • Driving without valid license/learners license accounts for 15% of accidents.
    • About 30% of deaths can be attributed to non use of helmets and 14% of deaths can be attributed to non use of seat belts.
    • Vehicles more than 10 years accounted for 41% of accident related deaths.
    • Overloaded vehicles accounted for about 10% deaths.
  • Both road accidents and accident related killings are more a rural phenomenon than an urban phenomenon. Thus in 2019, the share of number of person killed in urban and rural area was 32.9 per cent and 67.1 per cent.
  • In terms of those killed in 2019, Delhi retains its first rank followed by Jaipur, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kanpur among the million plus cities.
  • The State of Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of road accidents in 2019. The number of persons killed in road accident was the highest in Uttar Pradesh in 2019.
  • To view the Summary of accidents and death trends at the national and state level, click here.

Road safety initiatives of the government

Several initiatives have been taken by the Ministry which continues to implement a multi pronged road safety strategy based on Education, Engineering (both of roads and vehicles), Enforcement and Emergency Care consisting inter-alia of setting up Driver training schools, creating awareness, strengthening automobile safety standards, improving road infrastructure, carrying out road safety audit etc. High priority has been accorded to rectification of black spots.

A major initiative of the Ministry in the field of Road Safety has been the passing of the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2019 by both the Houses of Parliament in August 2019. The aforementioned bill has now become an Act. The provisions of Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019 which focus on road safety include, inter-alia, stiff hike in penalties for traffic violations and electronic monitoring of the same, enhanced penalties for juvenile driving, cashless treatment during the golden hour, computerisation /automation of vehicle fitness and driving tests, recall of defective vehicles, extending the scope of third party liability and payment of increased compensation for hit and run cases etc.

Motor Vehicles Amendment Act  2019

The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2019 was passed by both the Houses of Parliament in August 2019 and has now become an Act. The much needed amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural transport, public transport and last mile connectivity through automation, computerization and online services and provide an efficient, safe and corruption free transport system in the country.

Some of the important areas of amendment are as follows

Road Safety

In the area of road safety, the Act proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations. Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc. Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. Penalty regarding motor vehicles is to be increased by 10 % every year. The comparative picture of the penalties under different sections is given in the Table below:

Amendments in various penalties under Motor Vehicles Amendment Act – 2019

Section   Old Provision / Penalty New Proposed Provision / Minimum Penalties
177 General Rs.100 Rs.500
New 177 A Rules of road regulation violation Rs.100 Rs.500
178 Travel without ticket Rs.200 Rs.500
179 Disobedience of orders of authorities Rs.500 Rs.2,000
180 Unauthorized use of vehicles without licence Rs.1,000 Rs.5,000
181 Driving without licence Rs.500 Rs.5,000
182 Driving despite disqualification Rs.500 Rs.10,000
182 B Over vehicles New Rs.5,000
183 Over speeding Rs.400

Rs.1,000 for LMV

Rs.2,000 for Medium passenger vehicle

184 Dangerous driving penalty Rs.1,000 Upto Rs. 5,000
185 Drunken driving Rs.2,000 Rs.10,000
189 Speeding / Racing Rs.500 Rs.5,000
192 A Vehicle without permit Upto Rs.5,000 Upto Rs.10,000
193 Aggregators (violations of licencing conditions) New

Rs.25,000 to

Rs.1,00,000

194 Overloading Rs.2,000 and Rs.1,000 per extra tonne Rs.20,000 and Rs.2,000 per extra tonne
194 A Overloading of passengers   Rs.1,000 per extra passenger
194 B Seat belt Rs.100 Rs.1,000
194 C Overloading of two wheelers Rs.100 Rs.2,000 Disqualification for 3 months for licence
194 D Helmets Rs.100 Rs.1,000
194 E Not providing way for emergency vehicles New Rs.10,000
196 Driving without Insurance Rs.1,000 Rs.2,000
199 Offences by Juveniles New Guardian / owner shall be deemed to be guilty. Rs.25,000 with 3 yrs imprisonment. For Juvenile to be tried under JJ Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle to be Cancelled.
206 Power of Officers to impound documents   Suspension of driving licenses u/s 183,184, 185, 189, 190, 194C,194D, 194E.
210 B Offences committed by enforcing authorities   Twice the penalty under the relevant section.

Vehicle Fitness

  • Automated fitness testing for vehicles has been made mandatory. This would reduce corruption in the transport department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle.
  • Penalty has been provided for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as for body builders and spare part suppliers.
  • The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively.
  • The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act and standards will be set for motor vehicle testing institutes.
  • The Act also provides for compulsory recall of defective vehicles and power to examine irregularities of vehicle companies.

Recall of Vehicles

The Act allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to:

  • reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or
  • replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.

Road Safety Board

A National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification to advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management including standards of motor vehicles, registration and licensing of vehicles, standards for road safety, and promotion of new vehicle technology.

Protection of Good Samaritan

The Act lays down the guidelines and provides rules to prevent harassment of Good Samaritan (a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident) to encourage people to help road accident victims.

Cashless Treatment during Golden Hour

The Act provides for a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour

Third Party Insurance

  • The Act has included the driver's attendant in 3rd Party insurance with no cap on liability of insurers.
  • There will be a 10 time increase in insurance compensation, from Rs 50, 000 to Rs 5 lakh.
  • Claim process has been simplified.
  • Insurance firms have to pay claims within a month, if the victim's family agree to accept Rs 5 lakh compensation.
  • The minimum compensation increased for hit and run cases from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees in case of death, and from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000 in case of grievous injury.

Motor Vehicle Accident Fund

Central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India which will be utilised for: treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme, compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident, compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident, and compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government.

Improving Services using e-Governance

One of the major focuses of this Act is to improve delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance which would inter-alia include.

(a) Provision for online driving licenses :

  • Learners licenses to be provided online with mandatory online identity verification based on Aadhar card. Driving Licences and driving test of the applicant will be computerized to avoid fake Driving License.
  • Driving test will be computerized to avoid fake Driving license and to bring transparency in RTO offices.
  • Commercial licenses will be valid upto five instead of three years.
  • Application for renewal can be made one year prior to or after licence lapses.
  • Driver Training Schools will be opened so that more efficient drivers may be available.

(b) Process of Vehicle Registration:

  • To improve the registration process for new vehicles, registration at the end of the dealer is being enabled and restrictions have been imposed on temporary registration. The vehicle owners may register their vehicle anywhere in the state and process of registration will be done by dealers. Provisions for inspection of the vehicle by RTO to be ensured.
  • Checking of fitness of vehicles will be computerised and laws for scrapping of old vehicle put in place.
  • National Register for Driving Licence and National Register for Vehicle registration through “Vahan” & “Sarathi” platforms to be created to bring harmony in the registration and licensing process across the country. Now since the National Register is in place, transfer of vehicle from one city to another will be easier and the stolen vehicles will not get registered.

(c) Drivers Training:

  • The driving training process has been strengthened enabling faster issuance of transport licenses. This will help in reducing the shortage of commercial drivers in the country. More and more drivers training schools and vehicle fitness centres will be opened.
  • To facilitate transport solutions for Divyang, bottlenecks have been removed in respect of grant of driving licenses as well as alterations in the vehicles to make it fit for their use.

(d) Reforms in Transportation System:

The central government may develop a National Transportation Policy, with the concurrence of state governments. The Policy will: (i) establish a planning framework for road transport, (ii) develop a framework for grant of permits, and (iii) specify priorities for the transport system, among other things. This provision will enable better last mile connectivity, rural transport and development of an integrated Transport System.

(e) Taxi aggregators:

The Act defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services). The Act provides guidelines for Aggregators. At present there are no rules in many states for regulating aggregators, taxis etc. The Act will enable States to issue licenses to the aggregators. Further, the aggregators must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Source: Ministry of Road Transport and Highway



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