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Accident Prone: Delving into Sikkim’s road accident statistics

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of deaths globally. Every year, the lives of approximately 1.3 million people are cut short globally as a result of road traffic crashes, and India tops the list with the highest number of fatalities, with about 11% of all fatalities worldwide owing to India.

At least one out of 10 people killed on roads across the world are from India, according to the World Health Organisation.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released the ‘Road Accidents in India 2021,” which revealed that in the year 2021, a total of 4,12,432 road accidents had been reported by police departments of states and union territories in the country, claiming 1,53,972 lives and causing injuries to 3,84,448 persons.

These figures translate, on average, into 1130 accidents and 422 deaths every day, or 47 accidents and 18 deaths every hour in the country.

India ranks second in terms of total accidents across 207 countries, as reported in the World Road Statistics, 2020, as per the data from the year 2018, followed by the United States.

In 2020, three lakh sixty-six thousand and one hundred thirty-eight accidents in the country were recorded, and one lakh thirty-one thousand and seven hundred fourteen deaths in accidents were reported.

As per the report, India saw a growth of 12.6% in respect to the number of accidents as compared to the year 2020 and an increase of 16.9% in the number of persons killed compared to the 2020 data.

Tamil Nadu still tops the list, as it has for the past four years, with a whopping total of 55,682 accidents in the year 2021, the highest number of accidents in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh with a total of 48,877 accidents and Uttar Pradesh with a total of 37,729 accidents.

Among the North Eastern States, Assam still tops the list for the past four years, with a total of 7,411 accidents in 2021. Nagaland, with 746 accidents, is in second place, followed by Tripura (479) and Manipur (366). The numbers of accidents have been increasing in 2021 over 2020 in all the North Eastern states except Manipur. Manipur has 66 smaller number of accident in 2021 over 2020.

The fatality rate is used to explain road accidents relative to the vehicular population in the country. It is measured by the number of road accident fatalities (persons killed) per 10,000 vehicles. The national average accident fatality rate has been declining over the years and will remain at 4.0 in 2021.

During 2021, Sikkim (8.7) recorded the highest fatality rate, followed by Bihar (6.8). About fifty percent of States have fatality rate above National average of 4.0 during 2021.

Sikkim recorded 155 accidents in the year 2021, out of which 56 people were killed in accident-related cases, moving the state up to the 32nd position in terms of both the number of accidents and the number of people killed.

Sikkim recorded 196 accidents in 2017, 180 in 2018, 162 in 2019, and 138 in 2020. The state recorded 78 accident-related deaths in 2017, 85 in 2018, 73 in 2019, and 47 in 2020.

The state saw a growth of 12.3% in the total number of accidents as compared to 2020 and a 19.1% growth in accident-related deaths.

State-wise distribution of fatal accidents during 2021 depicts a lower number of fatal accidents recorded in urban areas of Sikkim with only 17 accidents compared to rural areas, which have a total of 23 accidents.

National Highway, including National Highway under NHAI, National Highway under state PWD, and National Highway under other departments, has the highest number of accidents and deaths in Sikkim, with a total of 73 accidents and 23 deaths. On the state highway, 53 road accidents and 18 deaths were reported.

As per the report, in Sikkim, overspeeding on the national highway claims more lives than any other traffic violation. Overspeeding claimed 40 accidents and 14 deaths, while drunk driving claimed 19 accidents and 6 deaths, while driving on the wrong side claimed 14 accidents and 3 deaths.

Amongst the people killed in accident-related deaths in Sikkim, the 25- to 35-year-old age group has the highest total of deaths, 32, of which 24 were male and 8 were female. From the total of 56 deaths, 42 were male and 14 were female in the state.

The age group most affected by road accidents is 18-45 years old, which accounts for about 67 percent of total accidental deaths in the country.

The highest number of accidents occurred in the month of November in Sikkim, with a total of 34 accidents and between 18 and 21 hours 46 accidents were recorded, which is the highest as per the time of occurance.

In respect of the type of neighborhood’s categories, it is revealed that 46.9 percent of accidents, 54.2 percent of deaths, and 46.9 percent of injuries occurred in open areas, i.e., locations that normally do not have any human activities in the vicinity.

Under the road feature category, 67.5 percent of accidents took place on straight roads, whereas accidents on curved roads, pothole roads, and steep grades together accounted for only 13.9 percent of the total road accidents in 2021.

In the state of Sikkim, 88 accidents occurred in an open area and 45 accidents occurred on straight roads.

The numbers are grievous, and it comes to show that there is a lot of work to be done in road safety and also paramedic response in remote areas and steep roads. The statistics, specially of the fatalities has somewhat disgraced the otherwise placid status of the state. Measures by the state and central government are awaited now, to see how the government fabricates a course of action to curb and stop these grievous incidents.

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