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Death on the Roads


India ranks first in the number of road accident deaths among all the 195 countries of the world and accounts for nearly 11 percent of the accident-related deaths in the world. Road accidents are a leading cause of death, disabilities and hospitalisation in the country. More than four lakh accidents occur every year on India’s roads. Over 150,000 people die in those accidents annually.


Number of accidents, deaths & Injuries: 2016-2021






























India’s national highways are big killers. The highways comprise only two percent of total road networks in the country but they account for about 36 percent of deaths. State highways which constitute three percent of the road length claimed 25 percent of deaths due to accidents. The remaining 39 percent deaths occurred on the smaller roads which constitute about 95 percent of the total roads. When roads are good, they kill more people, it seems.

There are multiple causes for road accidents. These comprise human error, over-speeding, drunk driving, disregard of traffic signals and driving without license. It is generally agreed that four elements are involved in preventing road accidents. They are education, enforcement, engineering and emergency care. Education involves creating awareness among people regarding road safety practices. Enforcement is about implementing laws and regulations effectively. Engineering deals with proper road design and maintenance. Emergency care implies advanced life support systems including ambulance services.

Kerala witnesses a record number of road accidents every year. The most telling fact, perhaps, is that young adults in the age group of 18 to 40 years account for 70 percent of the road victims. By coincidence, an equal percentage of road accident deaths take place in rural areas. Among vehicle categories, two-wheelers account for the highest share in total accidents and fatalities.

A few months back, speaking at the valedictory ceremony of the state-level observance of the National Road Safety Week, which aims to drive home the point of safe driving and adherence to speed limit, the transport minister Antony Raju said, “Youth can lead the change by being responsible for their own life and that of others. This can in turn usher in a new driving culture.”

Given the country’s statistics for deaths on the roads, India does stand in need of a different driving culture.

 PS. Written for Indispire Editon 441India ranks highest in the world on road accidents and related deaths. #RoadAccidents


  1. Hari OM
    It is true that India is also known for being one of craziest places any driver can face when in a vehicle! It does take some getting used to. In the end, every driver must take fullest responsbility for care and awareness - but it is also true that there could be improvement in road markings and enforcements... YAM xx

    1. A lot of things call for improvement, both from drivers' part and the authorities'.

  2. These statistics are dreadful! We lack in all four of these elements. And honestly? i don't see us improving anytime soon. On a lighter note, best drivers of the world probably, secretly, train in India!

    1. Yeah, if you drive in India you can drive anywhere.

  3. We also have animals jumping/running across the road!

  4. Replies
    1. Anywhere at all, especially with speeding bikers making their way through narrow gaps.


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