Lucknow, June 25 (IANS) Not a day passes when deaths due to road accidents do not make it to the headlines of TV channels and newspapers.
The Lucknow-Agra Expressway and the Yamuna Expressway are slowly coming to be known as killer expressways with the number of accidents rising by the day.
Even as the Uttar Pradesh government introduces a slew of safety measures, the number of deaths in road accidents in 2018 was a whopping 22,256.
The maximum number of accident deaths were in Kanpur, Agra, Prayagraj, Lucknow, Mathura, Unnao, Fatehpur and Bulandshahr.
The transport department data states that there has been a 36.6 per cent increase in the number of deaths in road accidents in just five years.
It shows that the state reported a total 42,568 cases of accidents in which 22,256 persons were killed and 29,664 were injured during January to December 2018.
A senior transport official, on the condition of anonymity, said: “The figures for 2018 are certainly shocking. All our efforts to reduce the number of deaths to the single digit have not been successful.”
He attributed the number of deaths to high-speed and reckless driving.
“How else does one explain accidents on highways? People drive at top speed and then lose control over their vehicles. Travelling on a highway does not mean driving at high speed even though one possesses a premium level vehicle,” he said.
India is supposed to reduce to half the road accident deaths by 2020 under a global convention.
However, Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for nearly 15 per cent of the country’s total road accident deaths and this is a big hindrance to achieving this objective. A Supreme Court committee has pointed out this fact time and again.
Experts say that the high incidence of accidents can be attributed to poor road conditions, weak enforcement of laws with regard to drunken driving, minimal use of seat belts and helmets and delays in reaching medical help to accident victims.
The Yogi Adityanath government has promised 46 trauma centres along the highways and main arterial roads but only 27 have come up so far.
“These trauma centres often refuse to take in accident patients. Last year, my nephew died because the trauma centre in Jhansi refused to admit him saying that there was a shortage of doctors,” said Anil Srivastava, a retired bank employee.