The perception that the COVID-19 lockdown may have reduced the number of road accidents in the country was debunked by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which told the parliament that the number of road accidents in India has no way reduced even as the first three months (before the lockdown was announced) reported the bulk of the cases.
Interestingly, the number of accidents till June was as much as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
According to data by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India witnessed 1.60 lakh accidents by the end of June while the number of coronavirus cases stood at 1.90 lakh then.
The country has reported 1,60,797 cases of road accidents in the first six months of the year, revealed the Union minister Nitin Gadkari in a written reply to the question asked in the parliament. In 2017, the total numbers of accidents was 4.64 lakh while it increased to 4.67 lakh in 2018. Going by these estimates, the number of accidents by the end of 2020 may not be very different.
The number decreased a little (down by 3.86 per cent) the next year, taking the total tally to 4.49 lakh accidents across the nation.
The number of accidents remained much higher in the first half of the year even though the country was under total lockdown for over two months. Also, there were a lot of restrictions on transport even after the lockdown, but these restrictions seem to have hardly helped reduce the numbers substantially.
When looked at the states, Madhya Pradesh has reported the highest (19,724) number of accidents in the first six months, followed by Tamil Nadu (18,923 accidents), Uttar Pradesh (15,167 accidents) and Kerala (14,125 accidents). Maharashtra has reported 11,725 accidents during the same time. The top five states recorded half of the accidents.
Six states have reported more than 10,000 road accidents. Mizoram has the least number of accidents which is just seventeen over the six months. Out of 35 states, 24 had more number of accidents than the COVID 19 cases as of June, shows the data.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways produced data on a number of accidents, but could not give information on the number of fatalities. However, as per the latest data, 1.51 lakh people lost their lives in road accidents in 2018. In 2017, the number was 1.47 lakh. In five years, from 2014 to 2018, a total of 7.35 lakh people lost their lives in road accidents. The data for deaths that occurred in 2019 and 2020 has not been made available so far.
The yearly number of deaths was much higher than the deaths caused due to COVID 19, shows the data.