Video Summary

[RSTV In Depth] Road Accidents in India

The increase in road accidents is as much as 84% between 2014 and 2018 with average daily fatality is going up from 34 to 62 last year.
By IT's Video Summary Team
November 26, 2019


  • Introduction
  • Key Highlights of the Report
  • The Motor Vehicle Act, 2019
  • Underage Driving: A major threat
  • The landmark verdict by Supreme Court
  • What was the problem with the Motor Vehicles Act?
  • The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP)
  • Roads and rights of Pedestrians
  • Rules that need to be followed by Pedestrians
  • Population growth and Rapid Urbanization
  • Major challenges of Urbanization
  • Key Facts
  • Conclusion

[RSTV In Depth] Road Accidents in India

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A report on road accidents published by the Union Transport Ministry has shown a steep rise of 84% in the number of pedestrians killed on the roads in last 4 years. The report also says that a big reason for the rising road accident is underage driving.

Key highlights of the report

  • Road accidents are the most common thing in India.
  • With 1.51 lakhs death pedestrians killed in the road accident touched all-time high in 2018, an increase of nearly 3, 500 compared to 2017.
  • 12, 330 pedestrians were killed across the country in 2014.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists accounted for 15% and 2.4 % of the total road deaths.
  • West Bengal tops the list in the pedestrian’s fatalities with 2018 deaths followed by Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

2018 Data

  • The total road accidents accounts for 4,67,044 accidents and in which 1, 51,417 lost their lives. It translated into an average of 1, 280 accidents and 415 deaths taking place every day and nearly 53 accidents and 17 deaths every hour.
  • The share of two wheeler drivers killed was the highest i.e. 55,336 followed by car/taxi accidents which accounted for 25,115.
  • Pedestrians accounted for 22, 656 deaths and truck and lorry users killed were 15, 150.
  • Speeding is the biggest reason of road fatalities accounting for 64.4% of total deaths. The driving on wrong side is the second biggest reason for deaths accounting for 5.8% of road accident deaths. Use of mobile phones by drivers caused 2.4% deaths and drunk and driving accounting for 2.8% fatalities.

Speeding is the biggest reason of road fatalities

  • About 29% of deaths were due to not using helmets while driving and 16% of deaths was due to not-using seat belts.
  • Overloaded vehicles accounted for 12% deaths.
  • People who were killed in road accidents and were below 18 accounted for 9,977.
  • The highest number of people killed in road accidents belong to age range of 18-35e. 72,737 deaths.
  • West Bengal tops the list with 2, 618 pedestrians’ deaths due to road accidents.
  • In Delhi pedestrians accounted for 420 deaths which is more than 1/4th of the total road fatalities. Delhi also showed the fastest growth of fatalities as a ratio of total road accidents. It accounted for 18.3% of the total number of accidents and 11.7% of fatalities.
  • Dense population and congested vehicular movements are the causes of road accidents in Delhi.
  • In the case of collusion with parked vehicles resulting in deaths, UP reported 1299 fatalities in 2018 followed by Gujarat where 478 people died in such accidents.
  • Several causes are attributed to the road accidents including over speeding, drunk and driving, red light jumping, avoiding driving safety measures like helmets and seat belts, using mobile phones, honking lack of traffic sense.
  • There are also issues related to lack of infrastructural facilities such as poor pedestrians space, undivided rules, potholes, narrow roads, sharp road curvature.

The Motor Vehicle Act, 2019

  • Parliament passed the Motor Vehicles Act 2019 in July and it took effect as a law on 1st September 2019 with an aim is to reduce the road accidents and save human lives.
  • The new legislation made significant changes to how India’s roads are governed.
  • Road construction standards were changed.
  • Insurance norms tweaked and most importantly fines for traffic violations were increased.
  • From higher penalties for driving errors to imprisonment up to a month for speeding and up to six months for accidents.

For violating traffic rules

  • For not wearing a helmet, the fine has been raised from 100 Rs. to 1000 Rs. in addition to a three months’ disqualification of license.
  • For not wearing a seat belt, the penalty is now 1000 Rs.
  • For Speeding or raising the fine has been increased from 5,00 Rs. to 5,000 Rs and for drunk and driving from 2,000 Rs. to 10,000 Rs.

Type of offence

Penalty (Rs)

Additional punishment

No helmet


3 months license disqualification

No Seatbelt





–          Can attract prison term of 3 months (with or without fine),

–          Extend to one year for second time.

Drunk driving




  • It includes imprisonment for severe crimes: speed racing can attract imprisonment for three months with or without fine. This will extend to one year if caught for the second time.

For offences by Juvenile

  • The guardian or owner of the vehicle shall be deemed to be guilty and punished with a 25,000 Rs. fine and three years.’ imprisonment.
  • The juvenile would be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and the registration of motor vehicle will be cancelled for 12 months.

Other rules

  • Owners of vehicle who alter it by way of retrofitting of motor vehicles parts in a manner not permitted under the act shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and all with fine of 5,000 Rs. per alteration.
  • These penalties will be increasing by 10% every year on April 1. The new act has also extended the renewal of Driving License from a month to 1 year after the date of expiry.
  • The act also promises to protect those who render emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim of an accident from any civil or criminal liability.
  • The minimum compensation for death/grievous injury due to hit-n-run has been moved up substantially.
  • Soon after the new act took effect, traffic violation is dropped sharply across states. In national capital, a 66% reduction in traffic violations was recorded in September compared to the previous year.
  • For better enforcement of the law, government also installs speed cameras and in-vehicles sensors but experts say five key areas need more attention improving road safety management, developing driving safe infrastructure, safer cars, changing road user behavior and improving post-accident trauma care and management.

Underage driving: A major threat

  • A big reason for the rising road accident is underage driving. They are not only a hazard on the road for others. but also end up losing their own lives.
  • In 2017 alone, over 130 underage drivers. were killed in road accidents. Sadly, not only is underage driving a new phenomenon but data also shows that every passing year the offenders are getting younger.
  • Underage drivers are responsible for a significant number of accidents in India. In 2018, more than 1,50,000 people lost their lives in road accidents i.e. ten times more than the fatalities in 1970s.
  • Nearly 75% of the road accidents in India are caused by driver’s mistake. It’s difficult to ascertain the exact number of road accident caused by minors across the country but in Delhi, children as young as 10 years. are sometime caught driving.
  • Delhi police traffic data shows that every passing year, offenders. are getting younger. In 2018, 1228 challans were issued for underage driving while in 2017, the figure stood at 1067.
  • In 2013, the average age of underage drivers. was between 15 and 16 years., however the average age of all the violators. have been between 13 and 14 years in the last five years.
  • Traffic officials say that in some cases, children as young as 11 years are also caught driving.

The landmark verdict by Supreme Court

  • In 2008, the SC deliver a landmark verdict concerning minor drivers in India.
  • The court said that parents must pay for minors. causing accidents dramatically changing the position of governed by the Motor Vehicles Ac. The ruling pertains to an 11-year-old case. In 1997, a 15-year-old boy, Karan Arora, drove his father’s car and caused an accident killing one. The victim’s father filed an application seeking compensation of 10 lakh rupees. The minor offender. father contested the claim.
  • On 24th September, the SC ruled in favor of the victim’s father directing the insurance company to immediately pay up the compensation amount.
  • This judgement not only brought to an end the 11-year-old litigation but it also came as the most practical deterrent for parents to not allow their minor children to drive.

What was the problem with the Motors Vehicles Act, 1988?

  • Traffic experts believe that punishment prescribed under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 was not a deterrent especially for rich households.
  • Therefore, in a bid to curb this lacunae, the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019 ensures that for traffic violations by juveniles, the guardians or owner of the vehicle would also be held responsible and punished with a 25,000 rupees fine and three-year jail term.

The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP)

  • It is UN accredited NGO founded in 1963.
  • It promotes the right of pedestrians the world over.
  • It advocates that the right to walk in public spaces be a basic human right.
  • It believed globally that pedestrians have the fiRs.t right on our road but more often than not this is not the case. With pedestrians the world over struggling to find place.
  • In India, there are rule guarding the rights of pedestrians. However, pedestrians themselves need to follow the regulations while sharing the road with others.

Roads and rights of Pedestrians

  • Roads are the most important public spaces in cities and pedestrians are its largest users. but less than 30% OF URBAN ROADS IN India are designed with pedestrians in mind.
  • More often than not, two wheelers. can be seen using zebra crossings even as pedestrians themselves use zebra crossing less and less.
  • Despite laws in place, urban areas can clearly be seen as an encroachment of footpaths with the pedestrians being the ultimate sufferer.
  • Even though, India has a long way to go to ensure pedestrians rights, there are some rules in place in the country.
  • The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 spelled out some rules for pedestrians. The rule of the Road Regulation 1989 has three rule mentioning pedestrians or their right.
  • These include Rule 8 which says that it is the duty of the driver to slow down when approaching a pedestrian crossing. Rule 15 that says that no driver can park a motor vehicle near a traffic light or on a pedestrian crossing or a footpath. Rule 11 states that motor vehicles are not allowed to drive on the footpaths or cycle lane except with permission from the police officer on duty.
  • The Municipal Corporations Acts also protects public roads and street by terming all obstructions illegal unless they are made with the prior permission of collector.
  • Under the Person with Disabilities Equal Opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation at 1995, the government must provide for auditory signals, engraving on zebra crossings, slopes in pavements for easy access of wheelchair and warning signals at appropriate places.

Rules that need to be followed by Pedestrians

  • To pay attention while walking.
  • Never assume the driver has seen you when you are about to cross the road.
  • Always keep an eye out on the traffic.
  • Avoid crossing the roads at places where drivers. may not be able to see you at all.
  • Wait for a suitable gap in traffic flow before crossing the road.
  • Never jump over the divider railings.
  • Children should always be held while crossing the road. Avoid crossing the road between parked cars.
  • Cross the try by the shortest, most direct route as it reduces the time on the road.

Population growth and Rapid Urbanization

  • According to the UN latest data, by 2050, some 416 million more Indians will have move to cities and towns.
  • According to the 2001 census, 286.1 million people were living in urban India. The number now risen to 377.1 million (2011 census) which shows a growth of 2.76 per cent annually.
  • Over the past 25 years.’ cities such as Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi have been at the forefront to urbanization and rapid growth but due to unplanned growth Indian cities have now stretched beyond breaking point.
  • According to an assessment by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), the share of public transport expected to decrease from 75.5% in 2000-01 to 44.7% in 2030-31.
  • The share of personal transport will be over 50% adding to the owes of congestion and air pollution.
  • Skewed land use patterns including conversion of agriculture and forest land to residential and commercial areas poses a major challenge to the green lungs in the city.
  • In 2012, the Institute of Urban Transport which comes under the Ministry of Urban Planning has issued five-part set of guidelines for the design of urban roads.
  • These guidelines cover road cross section, intersections, road markings, signage’s, traffic calming.

Major challenges of Urbanization

  • Inability of cities to provide basic needs such as safe drinking water, clean air, good quality public transport and roads and pavements.
  • Providing both social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, public parks and economic infrastructure like bridges, flyovers. and markets.
  • The Ministry of Urban Development high powered committee had estimated that over a 20-year period, 39.2 lakh crore at 2009-10 prices will need to be spent on urban infrastructure.
  • 17.3 lakh crore will be spent on the urban roads.

Key Facts

  • India has less than 3% of vehicles but accounts for 12% of road deaths.
  • According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, in the year 2018 alone, almost 3 lakh people died due to road accidents.
  • Compared to countries with much higher level of motorization like the UK, Australia and Netherlands, this number is disproportionately high in India.
  • A World Bank study says that if India were to cut down road deaths and injuries by 50% between 2014 and 2038, it could potentially increase GDP per capita by 14%.


Road accidents can be decreased by showing more awareness towards the simple rules and regulations. Pedestrians should follow some rule while the administration must punish the offenders. At the same time the Indian roads congress must also update their design codes and conducting regular safety audits make a huge difference in the country’s approach to road safety.


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