Road accidents in India - Statistics & Facts

India is one of the busiest countries in the world in terms of road traffic. The automotive industry across the south Asian country became the fourth largest in the world in 2017. In 2019, there were almost three million new car registrations in the country. The Indian road network, spanning over five million kilometers, carried almost 90 percent of the country’s passenger traffic and about 65 percent of the goods. With the rapid increase in the number of cars and the mercilessly congested Indian roads, road safety has turned into a factor of utmost importance for the country’s citizens.

Accidents on road have become a major concern for the people as well as the government. About three to five percent of the GDP was invested in road accidents each year. India roughly accounts for just about one percent of the global vehicle population. However, it accounted for about six percent of the total global road accidents. In 2018, there were around 151 thousand deaths due to road accidents in India. One of the contributing factors could be the ever-increasing vehicle population. In the last decade, the road network across the country grew by about a third of its original length. Vehicle registrations on the contrary, increased by almost three times. The majority of the accidents involved two-wheelers, that also dominate the Indian automotive industry in terms of production and sales. Over-speeding was another significant contributor to road accidents in India. Driving under alcohol influence, hit and run cases, and general traffic violations resulted in almost 80 percent of the accidents being the driver’s fault. Citizens aged between 18 and 45 years were involved in about 70 percent of the road accidents.

Lack of proper infrastructure for vehicles as well as pedestrians has presumably caused a spike in road accidents across India. The capital city of Delhi reported the highest number of deaths across the major cities, at approximately 1.4 thousand in 2018. Pedestrians in the capital region were the leading victims of road accidents that year. Considerable efforts were made by the Delhi Traffic Police to curb down traffic incidents. Over 141 thousand on-the-spot prosecutions were made by the police for over-speeding. The highest number of traffic violations and prosecution slips were handed to two-wheeler riders in the capital.

Motor vehicle insurance is one of the ways for the victims to be compensated. Under the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988, third-party insurance was made compulsory for all motor vehicles. The insurance has unlimited liability and the premium amounts were calculated by courts based on victims age and financial earnings. Between 2009 and 2014, there was an increase of about 250 percent in the third-party insurance earned premium.
To further reduce damage to lives, the fine for speeding was increased by ten times under the new Motor Vehicles Act of 2019. The fines for drunk driving were also raised. A possibility for imprisonment for illegal street racing was also introduced by the law. Strict enforcement of these laws, however, will likely be a key factor in mitigating the road accident cases across India. Proper driver training and meticulous planning of the fast-growing road networks could also be key factors towards improving road safety in India.

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Road accidents in India

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Accidents on highways

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