Road accidents in India declined 4.1% in 2016, but caused 3.2% more fatalities than they did in 2015, according to a report released by the ministry of road transport and highways on Wednesday.
A total of 480,652 road accidents took place in India in 2016, which resulted in the loss of 150,785 lives and left 494,625 injured, said the report.That means around 55 road accidents every hour killing 17 people.
In 2015, India reported 501,423 road accidents resulting in 146,133 deaths.
The report mentioned that as many as 17 people died in 55 road accidents per hour on average last year, with 46.3 per cent of them in the 18-35 age group.
The working age group of 18-60 years constituted 83.3 per cent in the total road accident fatalities, it added.
Overall, 4,80,652 road accidents took place in India last year resulting in the loss of 1,50,785 lives and inflicting serious injuries on 4,94,624 persons.
"We are working to reduce fatalities not only on National Highways but on state highways and district roads as well. I have asked all state governments to utilise 10 per cent of the CRF in addressing flaws at accidental spots," Gadkari said.
Besides, Road Safety Committees should be constituted in districts, headed by senior most MPs with Deputy Collector as Secretary, and they will look into all aspects of accidents at that level, he said.
The minister said the target is to reduce the fatalities by 50 per cent in next two years and Road Safety Bill pending in Parliament, if cleared in the next session, will prove to be a milestone in addressing it.
Indicating a slew of steps to minimise accidents, Gadkari said these included installation of crash barriers and correcting design and engineering flaws in projects besides identifying about 786 black accidents spots and steps to correct these through an expenditure of about Rs 12,000 crore.
"I have no hesitation in admitting that faulty road engineering is also responsible for road accidents which we are now amending," he said, citing the example of Delhi-Jaipur highway where underpasses were constructed.
Based on the data reported by the police, drivers' fault was the single most important factor responsible for road accidents (84 per cent), killings (80.3 per cent) and injuries (83.9 per cent).
The report said 13 states accounted for 86 per cent of accidents. These are Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
It said: "The number of road accidents relative to population, registered vehicles and road length are on a general declining trend from 2010.
"Number of accidents per lakh population declined from 42.5 in 2010 to 37.9 in 2016. Number of persons injured per lakh population decreased from 44.8 in 2010 to 39.0 in 2016. Number of persons killed per lakh population marginally increased from 11.4 in 2010 to 11.9 in 2016."
The National Highways constitute about 2 per cent of the total road network of India, but they accounted for 29.6 per cent of total road accidents and 34.5 per cent of total number of persons killed.
The State Highways accounted for 25.3 per cent of total accidents and 27.9 per cent of the total number of persons killed in road accident in 2016.
The report said maximum number of accidents occurred on two lane roads (1,90,800) followed by single lane (1,77,067) , four lane with median (67,179) and more than two lanes road without median (35,290) in the calendar year 2016.
Among the vehicle categories, two wheelers accounted for the highest share in total number of road accidents (33.8 per cent), followed by cars, jeeps and taxis (23.6 per cent), trucks, tempos, tractors and other articulated vehicles (21 per cent), Buses (7.8 per cent), Auto-Rickshaws (6.5 per cent) and other motor vehicles (2.8 per cent).
The report said the share of two wheelers in total road accidents has increased from 28.8 per cent in 2015 to 33.8 per cent in 2016.
"Any road accident is multi-causal... Within drivers' fault category, exceeding lawful speed accounted for a highest share of 66.5 per cent in accidents and 61.0 per cent of accident deaths," it said.
"However, in the total road accidents and total road accident killings, over speeding accounted for 55.9 per cent and 49.0 per cent respectively," it added.