reduced by 62% during the lockdown between March 24 and May 31, according to data provided by 24 states and UTs to the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety. During this period, these states reported 8,976 less fatalities, over 25,000
and nearly 26,000
were left injured as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
Maharashtra saw the maximum decline of 1,632 road fatalities followed by Rajasthan (1,171), Gujarat (900), Bihar (898) and Telangana (604). Chandigarh and Daman and Diu reported no road deaths. Among states, Uttarakhand saw the maximum decline in these fatalities in percentage terms (-90%) followed by Kerala registering 88.7% reduction.
Four major states which have not yet submitted the data for this period are Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Delhi has also not provided the details. Analysis of the data also shows that the severity of road crashes, which is deaths per 100 crashes, was higher during these 69 days as compared to last year. While last year 39 persons were killed in every 100 crashes during the same period, it increased to 46 during this year.
Though road deaths have come down significantly across the globe during the Covid pandemic and lockdowns, the first quarter of 2020 too saw a drop in fatalities and injuries in crashes in India as compared to January-March period of last year. Overall, there was 8% decline or 3,089 less fatalities during the first three months of the current calendar year. Barring, West Bengal, Goa, Tripura, Puducherry and Ladakh, all other states and UTs reported fewer fatalities.
UP reported maximum reduction of 521 road deaths followed by Maharashtra (297), Odisha (234), Tamil Nadu (227), Bihar (221) and Kerala registering 215 less fatalities as compared to last year. Delhi registered 285 fatalities, 157 less than last year. The data has highlighted the importance of intensifying the message "road deaths are preventable and not a will of God", say road safety activists.
"Road users, policy makers and infrastructure providers must accept that road crashes have nothing do with fate. It's also evident from these data that stronger motor vehicle laws and better enforcement had brought some positive results in the first quarter," said K K Kapila, former president of International Road Federation.