Afternoons are the most accident-prone hours on Indian roads: 85,834 of 480,652 (18%) accidents in 2016 were reported between 3 pm and 6 pm, according to a new government report, which does mention deaths or injuries during these hours.

Between 2005 and 2016, as many as 1,550,098 people--more than the population of Bahrain (1.4 million)--died in roads accidents across India, according to Road Accidents in India 2016, an August 2017 report by the ministry of road transport and highways.

In 2016, there were 1,317 accidents reported every day in India or 55 every hour. These accidents killed 150,785 people--17 every hour or a death every three minutes--and injured 494,624.

Of those killed, 25% or 38,076 were between 25 and 35 years old, the age-group that reported most deaths.

The evening hours, 6 pm - 9 pm, were the second-most accident-prone with 84,555 accidents reported in 2016. Most accidents in India occurred between 3 pm and 9 pm, accounting for 35% of all road accidents in 2016.

Source: Road Accidents in India 2016

“Fault of driver” was the “single most important factor responsible for road accidents” accounting for 403,598 or 84% of all accidents--and 121,126 or 80% of all deaths--in 2016, the report said.

Overspeeding was the major cause of accidents under driver's fault, causing 66% or 268,341 of 403,598 accidents and 61% or 73,896 of 121,126 deaths. Overtaking (7.3% accidents; 7.8% deaths) was next, followed by driving on the wrong side of the road (4.4% accidents; 4.7% deaths).

Source: Road Accidents in India 2016

Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs resulted in 14,894 road accidents and 6,131 deaths in 2016, or 41 accidents and 17 deaths daily. The use of mobile phones while driving caused 4,976 accidents and killed 2,138 people; in other words, 14 accidents and 6 deaths every day.

Two-wheelers reported 34% of all vehicular accidents in 2016, 19 every hour

As many as 162,280 two-wheeler accidents were reported in 2016, the most among vehicles (34%). Cars, jeeps and taxis were next, accounting for 24% (113,267) of all road accidents, followed by trucks, tempos, tractors and other articulated vehicles--21% (101,085).

Two-wheeler accidents caused the most deaths--52,500 (144 daily or six every hour)--in 2016, followed by cars, taxis, vans & light motor vehicles (26,923).

As many as 10,135 two-wheeler riders--28 every day--died for not wearing helmets and 5,638 died (15 every day) for not wearing seat belts in 2016.

Source: Road Accidents in India 2016

The southern state of Tamil Nadu reported the most--71,431--road accidents in 2016, that is, 196 daily or eight every hour. Madhya Pradesh (53,972) was next, followed by Karnataka (44,403).

Source: Road Accidents in India 2016

Uttar Pradesh (UP)--the country’s most populous state--reported highest deaths--19,320, or 53 every day or two every hour--due to road accidents in 2016. UP was followed by Tamil Nadu (17,218), Maharashtra (12,935) and Karnataka (11,133).

Of 50 cities with populations over a million, Chennai reported most road accidents (7,486) and deaths (1,183) in 2016.

In terms of accident severity--road accident-related deaths per 100 accidents--Ludhiana was the worst at 69.9%, followed by Amritsar (67.1%) and Asansol-Durgapur (58.4%). Kochi reported the lowest at 6.6%.

India reported 11 road accident deaths per 100,000 population in 2014, ranking second with Mauritius (11) after Russia (19) and above the US (10).

In terms of injury, India reported 39 per 100,000 population, as compared to the US (526), Japan (451) and South Korea (443).

Source: Road Accidents in India 2016

80% road users in India feel unsafe on roads

About 80% road users in India feel unsafe on roads, according to Road Safety in India - Public Perception Survey, a July 2017 report by SaveLife Foundation, a New Delhi-based non-profit.

About 54% of the 2,166 respondents across 10 cities felt that poor road conditions and faulty design lead to accidents while 74% said road contractors and engineers should be held responsible for deaths and injuries, the survey reveals.

The annual cost of road accidents in India is 3% of its gross domestic product (GDP), the SaveLife Foundation report said, quoting a 2014 report by the erstwhile Planning Commission of India.

“With India’s GDP in 2015-16 being Rs 136 lakh crore ($2,092 billion), these figures translate into a monetary loss of Rs 4.07 lakh crore ($62.6 billion),” the report said. “Ironically, it is over five times the budget of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the nodal agency for ensuring road safety in India.”

Correction: An earlier version of the story erroneously referred to Chennai and Delhi as cities with more than 50 million population. We regret the error.

(Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

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