About 140 lives lost in over 600 road accidents over the course of the two phases of the nationwide lockdown between March 24 and May 3, according to a report by SaveLIFE Foundation.
Of this count, 30 per cent of the victims were migrant workers returning to their homes, said the report by the non-profit organisation, which works towards curbing road accidents in the country.
The report said over-speeding on empty roads has emerged as one of the most common reasons for deaths across states.
India accounts for one of the highest road crashes fatalities across the globe with annual 5 lakh accidents in which 1.5 lakh people are killed.
“The country recorded more than 600 road crashes over the course of the two phases of the nationwide lockdown (24th March till 14th April and 14th April to 3rd May),” as per data compiled by SaveLIFE Foundation.
During the last five weeks, around 140 lives have been lost due to road crashes across the country, with over 100 deaths recorded in across 9 states alone, it said.
“Further analysis of these road crash deaths reveals that around 30 per cent of these victims were migrants travelling back home. Almost 57 per cent of the deaths were of people driving during the lockdown. The most common causal factor across these crashes was speeding,” the report said.
Tragically, the rest of the road crash deaths were of essential services workers like doctors etc who were travelling either from or to their place of work, it said.
The states which recorded maximum accidents are Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.
The report said while there has been a dip in the absolute number of road crash fatalities during the lockdown due to suspension of public transport and general mobility, the rate of deaths in road crashes has remained unchanged, highlighting how unsafe Indian roads are even when the majority of the country has been under restrictions.
Piyush Tewari, founder and CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation, said, “India suffers the highest number of road crash deaths globally each year. Though there will be a dip in that number this year due to the lockdown, 140 deaths in over 600 crashes goes to show gains achieved will be lost as soon as things go back to normal.”
He said the third phase of the lockdown is a golden opportunity for states to fix engineering faults in the roads and institute mechanisms for electronic enforcement so that when things become normal, road fatalities can be kept at low.