State sees jump in road accidents, deaths in 21

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  • 8,053 people died, 21,169 hurt in road accidents in AP last year, an increase of 10.16% & 14.08% respectively
  • According to AP Road Safety Council, two-wheeler riders are the worst victims, followed by pedestrians in terms of fatalities
  • Despite Covid and frequent lockdowns, the state records 7,059 deaths and 19,612 injuries in 17,910 accidents in 2020

Vijayawada: Road accidents increased by 10.16 per cent and fatalities by 14.08 per cent in the state in the year 2021. The percentage of injured persons in these accidents also rose by 7.94, data compiled by the AP Road Safety Council (RSC) showed.

The year 2021 saw 19,729 road accidents in 13 districts of the state, leaving 8,053 people dead and 21,169 injured. Two-wheeler riders were the worst victims, followed by pedestrians, in terms of fatalities, the numbers being 3,352 and 1,723 in 9,456 and 4,275 mishaps respectively.

The data showed that 'over-speeding' (all vehicles) contributed to 69.9 per cent of the accidents and 69.5 per cent of deaths. While in 26.5 per cent of the cases, the reasons for accidents were classified as 'not known', 2.3 per cent of mishaps happened due to driving on the wrong side.

Drunk driving contributed to 0.5 per cent and use of mobile phone (while driving) to 0.1 per cent of the accidents, resulting in 0.1 and 0.2 per cent fatalities respectively. Persons in the 25-35 age group were the worst victims, with 1,679 males and 234 females killed. In the 35-45 age group, 1,625 males and 272 females met with fatal accidents and in the 18-25 group 1,326 and 182 respectively.

Among the districts, Guntur topped the chart with 953 fatalities, followed by East Godavari with 774. Srikakulam was at the bottom with 290 road accident deaths. "Going by the latest statistics, AP may now rank among the top five in road accidents and fatalities across the country. In 2019, we were at number eight," a senior official of the RSC said.

In 2020, despite being the Covid-19 year, the state recorded 7,059 deaths and 19,612 injuries in 17,910 accidents. Road accidents and the resultant fatalities showed a declining trend in 2017 and 2018, with accidents lesser by 5.3 and 11.85 per cent and fatalities fewer by six and 8.57 per cent. In 2019, however, the year-on-year increase in accidents was 4.1 per cent while fatalities were up by 5.6 per cent.

Since 2019, bad roads have been one of the major factors that contributed to spurt in accidents and fatalities. The government's focus on road safety has also seemingly waned in the last couple of years. More than two years after the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety suggested various measures to curb road accidents and fatalities, the state government is yet to act on it.

Not even half of the 1,190 'black spots' identified on state roads have been rectified, the Road Safety Council data revealed. On the other hand, the National Highways Authority of India has been fast in taking corrective measures to improve road safety. Of the 352 black spots, which are accident-prone areas, on National Highways in the state, 288 have been rectified and work on the remaining 64 is being carried out.

The Supreme Court Committee suggested creation of a Lead Agency on Road Safety at the state as well as the district levels but the AP government is yet to put that in place. The Lead Agency is supposed to assist the Road Safety Council in implementing the decisions of the apex court panel and also in policy formulation and implementation.

The state transport commissioner submitted a proposal to the government for deploying officials from police, transport, roads and buildings and health departments to the Lead Agency either through fresh recruitment or on deputation but it is yet to happen, according to the RSC officials. While the transport department nominated its own officials to the Lead Agency at the state and district levels, the police recently nominated a sub-inspector and two home guards at the district level. "There is a need to stabilise this set up at the earliest so that we can take required action. Otherwise, the very purpose is being defeated," the RSC officials say.

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