Delhi's city roads see most accident deaths

Data shows number of accidents in Delhi has come down even as vehicular population has gone up

Chennai's traffic statistics may show a higher number of road accidents but the streets of the Capital are more bloody. While the Capital of Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of road accidents in 2016, Delhi has overtaken the former in terms of most number of deaths due to road mishaps.

According to experts, a host of factors ranging from bad road design to lax enforcement of traffic rules led to the Capital claiming the top spot.

Statistics compiled by the Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in its report titled ‘Road Accidents in India 2016’, showed that Chennai had the highest number of road accidents at 7,486 while Delhi had the highest number of deaths — 1,591 — due to road accidents.

Peak in 2014

The report recorded road accidents in Delhi having peaked at 8,623 in the year 2014 before steadily coming down to 8,085 in 2015 followed by 7,375 in 2016 claiming 1,671, 1,622 and 1,591 lives respectively. Experts attributed the lowering numbers to a proportional increase in vehicular congestion in the Capital.

“Since 2011, Delhi has shown good record in terms of accident statistics gradually coming down. But this is not happening because of engineering faults being corrected but due to an increase in vehicular population. There is congestion on Delhi's streets for as many as 14 hours on an average day,” said Dr. S. Velmurugan, head of the Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, CSIR-CRRI.

The Capital’s vehicular population has officially breached the 1.05-crore mark, with over 94% of it being constituted by private vehicles.

This, even when there has been no proportional increase in road space in a city that houses over 2.7 crore residents.

According to the latest figures compiled by the Delhi Transport Department, the city’s population of privately-owned vehicles is just shy of 1 crore, an estimated 99,38,656 till May 25 if one combines the total number of privately-registered cars and two-wheelers across categories.

T-junctions unsafe

Of the total 7,375 accidents recorded in 2016, the maximum, at 5,088, resulted in minor injuries followed by 1,548 which were categorised as fatal and 583 which led to grievous injuries. As many as 156 accident victims had lucky breaks, escaping with no injuries.

According to the report, T-junctions have emerged as the most unsafe spots on the Capital's streets having seen as many as 1,008 accidents in 2016 followed by 837 at Y-junctions, arm junctions, at 742 and as many as 270 accidents at roundabouts which, experts said, were evidence of both engineering faults and laxity in enforcement.

“Speed is the main killer on Delhi's roads,” asserted road and design expert Professor Dr. P. K. Sarkar of the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA).

“Studies have shown that if you decrease the average speed limit by 5 kilometres, then there is a decrease in fatal accidents. On our roads, however, the engineering is not even conducive for traffic plying at 40 kmph,” he said.

Safety and speed

According to Professor Sarkar, issues related to the safety of road users in Delhi, which already suffer from engineering faults, are compounded by speed and the behaviour of “unruly drivers.”

“All of this can be managed through speed cameras and night cameras; the need of the hour is an Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITS) which has been conceived but is yet to see the light of day in Delhi,” he added.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:23:20 AM |

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