The number of accidents may have come down, but more lives were lost in road accidents in Karnataka in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to data released by the Transport Department. The statistics also revealed that on an average, 30 people are killed in road accidents.
A total of 41,707 accident cases were reported in 2018, which included 10,093 fatal accidents. As many as 10,990 people were killed in road accidents, 21,277 people were grievously injured and 30,285 suffered from minor injuries.
As per the data, the highest number of deaths were reported in Tumakuru district. A total of 766 people were killed and 2,405 were injured in 2,265 accidents that were reported in the district. After Tumakuru, Bengaluru city saw the most number of deaths. A total of 686 people were killed and 4,129 were injured in the city last year.
In 2017, 642 deaths were reported in Bengaluru and 659 in Tumakuru.
Officials are attributing the high number of accidents to negligent driving, poor road infrastructure, violation of traffic norms and lack of pedestrian crossing, among other reasons.
Additional Commissioner for Karnataka Road Safety Authority Umashankar B.P. said that the increase in the number of deaths is a cause for concern, and the Authority is working with various stakeholders to bring down the number of road accidents in the State.
“The Authority is working with various agencies like police, health, public works departments and others. The agencies will also work at the district level to bring down the accident rates, saving lives of people, sensitising motorists and pedestrians on following traffic rules,” he said, adding that the authority is also forming committees at the district level to analyse the accidents and find solutions.
‘Improve existing infrastructure’
Piyush Tewari, founder of Save Life Foundation, said that in Karnataka, a majority of road conflicts are happening between vulnerable road users like pedestrians, bicycle and motor bike riders, with heavy motorised vehicles.
“To bring down road accidents in Bengaluru, the authorities concerned must improve the existing road infrastructure considering the growing vehicle population. There were many incidents of potholes and poor road conditions causing accidents. The government must also give impetus for a non-motorised transport policy and electronic traffic enforcement in the city,” Mr Tewari said.
The Public Works Department, NHAI and other agencies have identified 942 blackspots on National Highways, State Highways and roads located in city limits in the State where accidents occur frequently.
Additional Commissioner for Karnataka Road Safety Authority Umashankar B.P. said, “There were 782 blackspots in 2017-18 and 160 more blackspots were identified last year. The agencies concerned are fixing the problem at the blackspots, including construction flaws, installation of traffic signboards, and pedestrian pathways.”
The departments have identified 331 blackspots on the highways coming under the jurisdiction of State agencies and 76 under the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
The highest number of blackspots have been identified in Tumakuru. The agencies have also identified 31 blackspots on NH 48, the highway that links Bengaluru to other parts of the State.
Most blackspots on airport route
In Bengaluru, the agencies have identified 47 blackspots. The highest number are on NH 44, the highway that connects the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). There are eight blackspots on the road that include ones at Jakkur aerodrome, Bettahalsuru Junction, the bypass near Cafe Coffee Day, and Palnahalli Gate.
The agencies have also identified blackspots on Hosur Road, Mysuru Road, Old Airport Road, ORR and other areas. In addition, the agencies have identified two locations on NICE Road as prone to accidents.
37,134 driving licences suspended
In 2018-19, based on the recommendation of the police, RTOs across the State suspended 37,134 driving licences, out of which a majority (30,765) were suspended for drunken driving.
In 2017-18, the department had suspended 32,765 DLs.
88 blackspots in Tumakuru
With Tumakuru topping the list with the most number of deaths due to accidents, the district police have identified 88 blackspots on the five national highways passing through the district.
These are Bengaluru-Pune highway (NH-4), Tumakuru-Honnavara NH-206, Bengaluru-Mangaluru highway NH-75, Chamarajanagar-Jewargi (Bidar district) NH-150A and Villupuram-Mangaluru NH-234.
Superintendent of Police K. Vamsikrishna said that human error is a major cause of accidents in Tumakuru district. Overspeeding is the main reason while driving under the influence of alcohol and dozing off at the wheel also are reasons for accidents, he said.
Officials said accidents are also caused due to the sudden entry of people from service roads to national highways. “Many accidents occur as people cross the roads through openings in the median. Though some places have either a skywalk or an underpass, people do not use them,” an official from NHAI told The Hindu.
“Whenever an accident takes place in the district, the police department, RTO and PWD conduct a joint inspection and analyse the cause of the accident. If we find any road infrastructure problem, we will rectify the problem to prevent further accidents,” said Dr. Vamsikrishna.
(With inputs by S. Bhuvaneshwari from Tumakuru)