A staggering 5,024 people lost their lives in 17,685 accidents that took place across Telangana till October this year.
As many as 18,072 people suffered injuries in these accidents, according to statistics from the police. The number might increase further as there were more accidents in November.
In October itself, 478 people died in 1,689 accidents while 1,746 people suffered injuries on various busy stretches in the State including national and State highways.
The Cyberabad Police Commissionerate topped the list with 636 deaths till October followed by the Rachakonda Police Commissionerate with 550 deaths and Sangareddy district with 347 deaths.
Traffic experts said human error and defects in road engineering were the main factors that contributed for the accidents. They underscored the need for better coordination with engineering departments that were associated with road engineering works at the village, mandal and district levels.
Another reason for the accidents was over-speeding, which topped the list of violations in the State till October 31 this year. A woman died on the spot after an over-speeding car crashed from the Biodiversity flyover at Gachibowli last week.
A staggering 8,96,092 cases were registered and challans issued against drivers across the State for driving their vehicles beyond the prescribed speed limits. The police have generated revenue of Rs 72.51 crore through penalties imposed on these over-speeding violators.
The curious case of fewer accidents, more deaths
With frequent roads mishaps being reported in the city a sense of panic and insecurity is prevailing amongst motorists and citizens alike. While concern is being raised on the safety of motorists, the Traffic Police maintain that negligent driving and human error have led to fatal accidents.
“Most of these mishaps are due to negligent driving. Either they are driving at high speed as in the case of the Biodiversity flyover accident and the Banjara Hills case or there are other violations like wrong side driving like the BMW car incident in Madhapur,” said Anil Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Hyderabad. The driver is either not alert or lacks driving skills, he added.
“In some cases, heavy vehicle drivers cannot see the vehicles beside them in the front and rear mirrors leading to mishaps,” Anil Kumar said.
Following these mishaps, the Hyderabad Traffic Police have conducted special drives against drunk driving with 50 teams on the job across the city.
Officials said some mishaps do occur due to road engineering and geometrical issues. They continuously identify such black spots and rectify the issues.
On the other hand, the Cyberabad Police say that this year, road accidents saw a dip of 8 per cent, but the fatalities have increased. The reasons observed are utter disregard towards roads rules, negligent driving and over-speeding.
Officials said due to a few sensational road accidents in the last fortnight, there has been a sense of fear. But, in fact, the accident rate has come down.
“In almost 60 per cent of cases, two-wheelers are at fault. They are either trying to overtake from the wrong side or are busy on the phone or try to scrape past heavy vehicles through the wrong side,” said SM Vijay Kumar, DCP (Traffic), Cyberabad.
Two-wheeler deaths are also because many of them were not wearing helmets or wearing low-quality helmets.
In Cyberabad this year, the accident rate has seen a decrease with increase in fatalities. “This means, accidents are occurring with more severity. On the whole, 54 per cent deaths have included two-wheeler riders and 31 per cent were pedestrians,” Vijay Kumar said.
Pedestrians deaths are directly related to the safety infrastructure and two-wheeler deaths to negligent driving, he added. In the last three days, the Cyberabad police have raided several helmet stores on the roadside and seized over 2,000 fake and low quality helmets.
Careless and reckless
Around 70 per cent of accidents are caused by human errors which include over-speeding, drunk driving and negligence, says Vinod Kanumala of Indian Federation of Road Safety.
According to him, apart from human errors, lack of good infrastructure such as road markings, proper medians and signaling, too, account for many accidents.
“Surveillance cameras are only being used for issuing challans against traffic violations rather than to implement rules and regulations stringently,” Kanumala says.
Road safety experts say that despite several accidents, the public hardly pay attention to rules and regulations and this behaviour has to change. People have to develop the concept of speed control and alertness while driving. Experts also urged the government to take up studies and analysis of road accidents and work accordingly to bring down the number of accidents.
Ashan Pasha of ‘Traffic Sense in Hyderabad’, a unit of Traffic Sense Foundation, blamed the driving skills of the city’s drivers. “People do not know how to drive properly. If a driver is good, then he/she can have control over the vehicle on any kind of road,” Pasha says.
People are not driving as per the condition of the road. Each driver who takes to the wheels needs to strictly follow traffic rules. Moreover, those driving transport vehicles should undergo training every year to improve their skills, he adds.
Markings are mandatory
Road markings provide guidance for disciplined and safe driving, and it is important and mandatory to mark all the major roads with lanes, edge and median markings together with delineators.
These markings perform an important function of guiding and controlling traffic and serve as a psychological barrier and signify the delineation of the traffic path. Therefore, markings and signs are indispensable to ensure smooth and orderly flow of traffic and for promoting road safety.
Along with road signs, there are different road markings in the country such as carriageway road markings, longitudinal markings, intersection markings, hazardous location markings, parking, word messages and object markings to indicate a driver, his proper position on the roadway.