Over 29,000 road accidents were reported and 13,346 people died in these incidents in Maharashtra in 2021, which is 4 per cent more fatalities than the pre-COVID-19 period, an official said on Tuesday. As per the provisional accident data, road accidents in the state had gone up by 17 per cent, while fatalities and the number of injured had increased by 15 per cent last year compared to 2020.
Maharashtra had reported 29,291 accidents, in which 13,346 people lost their lives and 22,878 were injured in 2021, the data revealed. The state had reported 24,971 accidents, 11,569 fatalities and 19,914 injuries in 2020. According to the data, Maharashtra reported 4 per cent more road fatalities, though the number of accidents has dropped by 11 per cent and injuries by 20 per cent compared to 2019 when the state had witnessed 12,788 fatalities and 28,628 injuries in 32,925 accidents.
The state had reported 12,380 fatal accidents last year, which was 15 per cent more than 10,773 fatal accidents witnessed in 2020 and five per cent more compared to those in 2019. There was a drop in road accidents in 2020 due to restrictions in vehicle movement amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. In 2021, the peak of 2,043 accidents occurred in Mumbai, followed by Nashik rural with 1,429, Pune rural with 1,362, Ahmednagar with 1,360 and Kolhapur district with 1,031, the data stated.
The highest number of 862 fatalities were reported in Nashik rural, followed by 798 in Pune rural, 706 in Ahmednagar, 547 in Solapur and 527 in Jalgaon district, was stated. In case of injuries, Mumbai topped the list with 1,803 injuries, followed by Kolhapur (994), Nagpur city (964), Nagpur rural (901), and Solapur (865).
As per the data, Solapur city and Sindhudurg district registered the lowest 157 accidents each, followed by Gondia (252), Gadchiroli (247), Nandurbar (275), and Hingoli (276) districts. Sindhudurg district witnessed the lowest 64 fatalities, followed by Solapur city (63), Amravati (80) Ratnagiri (96) and Gondia (132), it stated.
Meanwhile, a road safety expert said that camera enforcement was encouraging people to commit more violations and, this needs to be addressed at the earliest. Pending e-challans need to be taken to a legal conclusion, as motorists believe that no action has been taken against them even if they violate traffic rules, he said. Talking to PTI, the additional transport commissioner of Maharashtra, JB Patil, who also heads the Road Safety Cell, said their main focus was on the 4Es — enforcement, engineering, education and emergency response of road safety.
For effective enforcement, the department has procured interceptor vehicles equipped with speed guns and breathalysers for the police and RTO squads, Patil said, adding that they had identified 1,324 black spots on the state roads. A senior official of the Maharashtra Highway Police said that they have already started stricter action against people driving without seat belts, riding two-wheelers without helmets or speaking on mobile phones while driving or riding, among other violations. The Maharashtra government collects around Rs 250 crore annually in road safety cess, which is used for various road safety-related activities.
With PTI inputs.