State roads claimed over 43,000 lives in four years

Government data shows 43,050 people have died on Karnataka’s roads from 2014 to 2017, an average of 29.4 deaths per day. The number of road deaths increased from 10,452 in 2014 to 10,856 in 2015 and 11,133 in 2016; it saw a marginal drop to 10,609 in 2017. In fact, Karnataka recorded the fourth highest number of accidents in the country in 2017 — 42,542.
Data shows in 2017 alone, 52,961 people were injured in various road accidents in the state. The same year, 801 people died in 3,239 mishaps involving buses, while 1,935 were grievously injured and 3,488 sustained minor injuries.
Experts say the rise in the number of vehicles, lack of enforcement, over-speeding, drunken driving, poorly designed roads, condition of vehicles and negligence of drivers are among the top causes for the rise in accidents.
“Three main factors cause accidents: vehicle condition, road design and driver behaviour. The government should take steps to rectify road design flaws, especially if any particular stretch is witnessing more accidents,” said MN Sreehari, a former adviser to the government on traffic and infrastructure. A senior government official said most accidents are caused due to over-speeding, negligence of drivers and drunk driving.
Road Safety Authority in a week? Ironically, Karnataka, which proposed a full-fledged Road Safety Authority (RSA) in 2016 on the lines of the one in Kerala to reduce the number of accidents, is yet to implement it.
The primary function of the proposed RSA will be to improve road engineering and design, increase road-safety awareness, provide emergency care facilities and strict enforcement on accidentprone roads, besides developing an accident information system and coordinating with multiple departments. Transport department deputy secretary K Beeresh said the RSA will be constituted in a week and that its formation has been cleared by the legislature.

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