As many as 17 people die in road accidents every hour, on average, in India, according to the latest data from the ministry of road transport and highways.
Yet, none of the 80 hospitals and medical colleges announced to be upgraded to trauma-care centres during 2012-17 were functional as of August 2019, the government data shows. Courses, such as advanced trauma life support (ATLS), are not mandatory for doctors in India, experts said, while emergency care centres are spread out unevenly, often manned by junior doctors. The few that are well-equipped are overburdened, leaving trauma care unprepared.
Nationwide, 467,044 road accidents were reported in 2018 — or 53 every hour, on average — an increase of 0.46 per cent compared to 2017, according to the Road Accidents in India 2018, released in September 2019. These crashes killed 151,417 people — or 17 every hour —2.4 per cent higher than in 2017, and injured 469,418 people.
A third of the road-accident deaths reported were in urban areas, which accounted for 41% of all reported accidents, while two-thirds were in rural areas, the data shows.
The report classifies accidents into four categories: fatal, grievous injury (requiring hospitalisation), minor injury and non-injury.
Minor-injury accidents accounted for the largest share (36%), followed by fatal accidents (30%) and grievous-injury accidents (27%). The rest (7%) were non-injury.
Grievous-injury accidents “underline the need for provision of Good Samaritan laws and provision of free healthcare during the golden hour to save lives”, which has now been made part of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019, the report said.
National Highways, which constitute 1.94% of India’s road network, accounted for 30.2% of road accidents and 35.7% of deaths reported in 2018. State highways, which account for 2.97% of the country’s road length, accounted for 25.2% and 26.8% of accidents and deaths reported, respectively.
Between 2014 and 2018, road accidents reported in rural areas rose by about 5%, while deaths and injuries as a result of these accidents rose 20.5% and 2.3%, respectively. Data and analysis: Indiaspend