Road crashes claimed 1.55 lakh lives in India in 2021, highest ever in a calendar year: Govt data

Over 1.55 lakh lives were lost in road crashes across India in 2021 — an average of 426 daily or 18 every single hour — which is the highest death figures recorded in any calendar year so far, according to official data.

Besides the deaths, 3.71 lakh people were also injured in 4.03 lakh ‘road accidents’ across the country last year, according to National Crime Records Bureau data under the ‘Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India – 2021’ head.

While the number of deaths due to crashes reached its highest last year, the number of road accidents and persons injured has come down compared to previous years, the report of the NCRB, which functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs, revealed. 

The rate of deaths per thousand vehicles in 2021 (0.53) was higher than that in 2020 (0.45) and 2019 (0.52) but lower than 2018 (0.56) and 2017 (0.59), the data showed.

In 2020, the year of Covid-19 lockdowns, there were 3.54 lakh road accidents in the country in which 1.33 lakh persons had died while another 3.35 lakh were injured, according to the data.

In 2019, there were 4.37 lakh road accidents in which 1.54 lakh people had died while another 4.39 lakh were injured, the data showed.

The country logged 4.45 lakh road accidents in 2018 in which 1.52 lakh people lost their lives while another 4.46 lakh were injured, it noted.

The numbers in 2017 stood at 4.45 lakh accidents, 1.50 lakh deaths and 4.56 lakh injuries, according to the NCRB figures.

“Generally road accidents have caused more injuries than deaths, but in Mizoram, Punjab, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, road accidents caused more deaths compared to persons injured,” the NCRB stated in its annual report.

For Mizoram, the figures were 64 deaths and 28 injuries in 64 road accidents, while Punjab recorded 4,516 deaths and 3,034 injuries in 6,097 road accidents, the NCRB said.

“In Jharkhand, 4,728 road accidents caused 3,513 deaths and injuries to 3,227 persons, and in Uttar Pradesh, 33,711 road accidents caused 21,792 deaths and injuries to 19,813 persons,” it added.

The NCRB report’s data for 2021 also suggested that public transport, like buses, were safer than private modes of conveyance, like motorcycles. 

Of the total deaths in road accidents, 44.5 per cent were riders of ‘two-wheelers’ followed by cars (15.1 per cent), trucks or lorries (9.4 per cent) and buses (3 per cent), the data revealed.

Also, a majority (59.7 per cent) of the road accidents were due to over-speeding, accounting for 87,050 deaths and injuries to 2.28 lakh persons, it showed.

Dangerous or careless driving or overtaking contributed to 25.7 per cent road accidents which caused 42,853 deaths and injuries to 91,893 persons, it added.

Only 2.8 per cent of the road accidents were due to poor weather conditions, the NCRB noted.

Of the total road accidents, 59.7 per cent were reported in rural areas (2.40 lakh cases) and 40.3 per cent in urban areas (1.62 lakh cases), the report added.

The NCRB said it has made an effort to capture comprehensive information on road accidents using the revised proformae and published the first report for the year 2014 and this edition is eighth in the series. 

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