After 2020 COVID blip, road fatalities on the rise again in 2021

Fatalities from road accidents were 1.9% higher in 2021 in comparison to 2019, while road accident severity, or the number of people killed per 100 accidents, increased from 33.7 to 37.3

Updated - December 29, 2022 09:44 pm IST

Published - December 28, 2022 09:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The maximum number of fatalities were due to “hit from back” category of accidents, which accounted for 18.6% of total road deaths. 

The maximum number of fatalities were due to “hit from back” category of accidents, which accounted for 18.6% of total road deaths.  | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Fatalities due to road accidents resumed their upward trajectory, after a rare decline in 2020 due to restrictions on movement due to COVID-19. Deaths due to road crash increased by 1.9% in 2021 as compared to 2019, according to the Ministry of Road Transport’s annual report released on Wednesday.

A total number of 4,12,432 road accidents were reported across the country last year, claiming 1,53,972 lives and causing injuries to 3,84,448 persons, according to the Road Accidents in India-2021 report. These translate into an average of 1,130 accidents and 422 deaths every day or 47 accidents and 18 deaths every hour.

Young adults in the age group of 18-45 years accounted for 67.6% of victims during 2021. People in the working age group of 18–60 years made up 84.5% of total road accident fatalities. Those under 18 years totalled 5% of all road crash deaths, and those above 60 years accounted for 7.6% of total deaths due to road accidents.

Road accident severity — measured by the number of persons killed per 100 accidents — increased from 33.7 in 2019 to 37.3 in 2021.

The maximum number of fatalities were due to “hit from back” category of accidents, which accounted for 18.6% of total road deaths. A close second was death due to “head on collision”, which contributed to 17.7% of total road deaths. The other major types of collision which caused deaths were ‘hit and run” (16.8%), and “hit from side” (11.9%)

As far as deaths from violation of traffic rules were concerned, over-speeding was a major killer, accounting for 69.6% of the persons killed, followed by driving on the wrong side of the road (5.2%). The use of mobile phones contributed to 1.9% of total road fatalities and drivers jumping traffic lights contributed to 0.5% of road deaths.

Among road users, the most impacted were two-wheeler users, who accounted for 40.7% deaths, followed by pedestrians (16.9%), those travelling in cars or taxis (16.4%), users of trucks and lorries (8.9%), and others (7.6%).

In terms of road types, 31.2% of accidents took place on the National Highways including expressways, 23.4% on State Highways and the remaining 45.4% on other roads. Out of total 1,42,163 fatal accidents reported in 2021, 50,953 (35.8%) were on National Highways, 34,946 (24.6%) were on State Highways and 56,264 (39.6%) were on other roads.

Uttar Pradesh accounted for the largest share of fatalities at 13.8%, followed by Tamil Nadu (10%), Maharashtra (8.8%), Madhya Pradesh (7.8%), and Rajasthan (6.5%). Of these, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have seen a rise in their share of fatalities as compared to 2019.

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