India Roads most Dangerous in the world NEW

By pjain      Published June 27, 2020, 9:18 p.m. in blog Geo-Politics   

India Worst Road Deaths Position and Actionables

India Worlst

Over 1.3 million people die in road traffic crashes the world over each year.

India with 150,000 deaths per year accounts for more than 11% of those deaths, even though Indians own barely 2% of the world’s motor vehicles. This makes India the world’s worst-performing country in terms of road traffic deaths. However WHO estimates closer to 210,000 deaths in 2015 vs 136,000 officially reported.

Other Countries

China is a massive country with a massive population. From being a country where the general public was not permitted to buy a car, to being a giant manufacturer of home grown cars. Traffic related deaths in China stand at about 19 per 100,000. WHO estimated over 261,367 road traffic deaths in China in 2013 as against their official number of 58,539.

Russia: Russians have lots of dashcams to fight accidents, corrupt traffic cops, and are known for fighting over a road rage matter. Traffic related deaths are high in the country with 19 deaths per 100,000 people.

Severe Personal and Family Anguish - death every few minutes!

The majority of victims belong to the 15-34 age group, which means families lose their breadwinners.

The 150,000 deaths per year means an average of 411 fatalities a day. That amounts to the loss of one life every four minutes on Indian roads. It also means that by the time you finish reading this article, someone would have lost his or her life in a crash.

Severe Economic Loss

Numerous studies show that India loses anywhere between 3% and 5% of its gross domestic product due to road traffic incidents each year.

In addition to being a public health issue, road safety is also an economic concern for India. The country loses $58 billion, or 3% of its GDP, every year due to road traffic crashes.


Year Crash Fatalities Notes
2018 150,000
2017 road crashes declined by 3.27%; fatalities only 2%
2002 75,000
  • Note deaths by population is NOT really relevant due to very large population in rural and the small 2% penetration of vehicles in India

  • Deaths/100,000 population (data from WHO, 2013) Developed: MOSTLY SAFE - don't appear in top 20 Cars higher %: SouthAfrica 26, China 22 Large Population: India 20, Colombia 19, Brazil 24, Developing countries: Thailand 37, Malaysia 24.5, Indonesia 17, Peru: 14

Road users in low- and middle-income countries are more than twice as likely to die in a traffic accident

Key Factors and Solutions

Liberalization pre-1992 to boost Transport Sector

Most provisions of the 1988 bill revolved around movement of goods and passengers. Concerns about safety were mostly missing because in the pre-liberalisation period, it was felt that policies were needed to give the transport sector a boost.

Too Tired Drunk Bus drivers - fall off bridges

Unsafe and Bad drivers

Bogus Licenses

  1. Overloaded Regional transport authorities at district level. The offices that issue driving licenses severely lack capacity. It is widely reported that a motor vehicles inspector, on average, has to process around 100 driving license applications a day. This means he can devote less than five minutes per application – and it is not humanly possible to judge a driver in that time period.

  2. Corruption. The licensing process in practice is totally different from what is prescribed in the rules.

  3. Multiple licenses per driver - hard to "suspend" - Worst for Commercial Drivers

    A person should ideally hold only one driving license like passports. But there is no mechanism or database to check if people have multiple licences. This practice seems common for commercial drivers and makes enforcement a herculean task.

  4. 30% of driving licences are bogus – reviving the call for an urgent overhaul of transport laws. - minister Nitin Gadkari Jan 2017

Not Using Seatbelts - esp. in Backseats

Liability of Car Owners Raised

For hit-and-run incidents, traffic violations or other offences committed by juveniles, the Bill states that the guardian (of the minor) or owner (of the vehicle) would be deemed guilty.

A key – and the most talked-about provision of the Bill – is enhanced penalties, which is expected to act as a deterrent to the offender and so reduce crashes.

Many traffic offenses have low penal provisions today. For example, in Delhi, the fine for over-speeding is only Rs 500, while drunken drivers get away by paying Rs 2,000.

Insurance for Victims

The 2019 Bill will create a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance to all road users in India. The fund will pay for treatment of crash survivors, provide compensation for the victims’ families and establish other systems to support all kinds of road users, from pedestrians to two-wheeler riders, pillion riders, private motor vehicle users and large vehicle users.

Indemnification of Helpers, CPR

The 2019 bill will also protect “Good Samaritans” – fellow passengers or passers-by who stops to help a crash victim by providing emergency medical or non-medical support – from long and tedious interrogation processes. It safeguards them from any civil or criminal action that may arise due to any perceived negligence in assisting the victim.

Safer Cars and Issues

Problem: Car and Parts - Organized Sector, GDP Growth

The automobile sector contributes around 7% to India’s gross domestic product and while we export state-of-the-art vehicles to other countries, those in the domestic market don’t even meet basic safety standards.

Indian Cars are Unsafe

In May, 2017 several popular models of cars in India failed a basic safety test.

Safety of two-wheelers - Road Accidents kills mainly Pedestrians and Bikers

Motorized travel in volume is not about cars but about two-wheelers.

A study by the World Resources Institute India, which works to develop sustainable transport solutions, for the city of Pune found that each two-wheeler rider on an average had met with at least two minor accidents.

Especially for urban areas, as it has been estimated that our cities and towns account for a quarter of total road fatalities in the country, with most of the victims being pedestrians and cyclist.

Unsafe Vehicles a key reason for Avoidable Deaths

Vehicles manufacturers provisions

  1. Recalls of Bad Cars. The 2019 Bill empowers the government to ask vehicle manufacturers to recall motor vehicles that could potentially damage the health and safety of road users.

  2. Car Standards and Enforceable Penalties. It also empowers the Centre to levy penalties of up to Rs 100 crores on vehicle manufacturers if they fail to meet motor vehicles standards.

Poor quality of Cars - Crashes kill most drivers and Front Seat Passengers!

Safer Roads Infrastructure

Faulty infrastructure the root cause of high Indian Road fatalities

Possibly the root cause of higher road deaths would be improvement of infrastructure for vulnerable road users is key in saving lives.

The traditional road safety approach has revolved around education and enforcement, but global examples suggest that infrastructure design plays a very important role.

Indian Urban Areas Lots of Fatalities inspite of low speeds

Especially for urban areas, as it has been estimated that our cities and towns account for a quarter of total road fatalities in the country, with most of the victims being pedestrians and cyclist.

Speed limits on Roads

Road deaths on roads is mostly tied to speed.

While most city roads have a posted speed limit of 50 kmph or less, yet, they are designed for vehicles to travel at 80 kmph to 100 kmph.

Therefore, the infrastructure is designed for speeding, which makes it inherently unsafe.

Safe Roads Infrastructure Design Penalizing

If the agencies, contractor or even consultant fails to provide, design or maintain safe roads, the government can penalise them with fines of up to Rs 100,000. THIS SEEMS FAR TOO SMALL - when even a small city project can easily to Re 1000 cr.

Regulations in India

Global case studies show that countries that have done well on road safety have a good central legislation around it.

Formalizing Gig Taxi-Hailing, Uber Regulation

The 2019 Bill provides mechanisms for recognising taxi aggregators (on-call taxis like Uber, Ola) and empowers states to issues licences to them. It brings them under the Information Technology Act, 2000. This should lead to safer vehicles plying on the road.

National Transport Policy - Central vs States

One of the problems is the sharp differences between different states in India.

The bill also empowers the Centre to draft a national transport policy, which would help develop a framework for planning, granting permits and priorities for the road transport sector, thereby clearly linking infrastructure design to safety.

  1. Infrastructure planning Board: The 2019 Bill will create a road safety board with representation from state governments. The board will advise Central and state governments on road safety and traffic management.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019

  • Finally this replaces or amend the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 to refocus from "too liberal" for transport and auto-manufacturing sectors, to a re-focus on road safety. It promotes road safety revolves around three categories Seventeen years on, our vision finally became a reality on September 1, when the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 came into effect. It has taken this long laboriously going through numerous committees, working groups, sub-committees identifying the need for a strong and relevant motor vehicles policy and making recommendations.

Motor Vehicles Act 1988 - Devalued Safety

Changes recommended by a working group were incorporated into the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.

Most provisions of the 1988 bill revolved around movement of goods and passengers. Concerns about safety were mostly missing because in the pre-liberalisation period, it was felt that policies were needed to give the transport sector a boost.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1939

Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1914


UP Roads


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