India can avoid tag of ‘accident capital of world’ by proper law enforcement: SC
India can avoid the tag of being the accident capital of the world, the Supreme Court said after scanning through the official statistics pertaining to vehicular deaths over the past several years, while stressing the on the need for proper law enforcement.
According to the findings placed before the Supreme Court, in the year 2014 alone, 2.37 lakh road accidents were reported on national and state highways across the country, which left 85,462 people dead and 2.59 lakh injured.
The bench also noted that as per the 2009 data, India had reported the highest number of road accident fatalities in the world which clearly indicated that a road accident occurred every four minutes.
The apex court said proper enforcement of law was needed for a nation like India, which is on the cusp of economic development, to protect precious human lives from road mishaps specially due to drunken driving.
The remarks were made by the bench during its December 15 judgement, wherein it ordered a ban on all liquor shops on national and state highways across the country while making it clear that licenses of the existing shops will not be renewed after March 31 next year.
“Human life is precious. As the road network expands in India, road infrastructure being an integral part of economic development, accidents profoundly impact on the life of common citizen. For a nation on the cusp of economic development, India can well avoid the tag of being the accident capital of the world,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.
The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, took note of the statistics placed before it by the government agencies, according to which total number of persons killed in road accidents on the national highways was 48,768 in 2012 which shot up to 51,204 in 2015.
In 2014, there were 1.24 lakh accident cases resulting in 46,110 deaths and 1.35 lakh persons injured in mishaps on the national highways. On state highways, the figure was 1.13 lakh accidents in which 1.24 lakh people were injured and 39,352 had been killed.
“The expressways witnessed 4,208 accident cases, 4,229 injured and 1,802 deaths. Figures are also available of the distribution of road accidents by causes during 2014. 1.38 lakh persons were injured in road accidents involving dangerous or careless driving and 42,127 deaths occurred.
“Injuries caused in accidents due to over-speeding stood at 1.81 lakh while there were 48,654 deaths. 7,307 accident cases involving driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol were registered resulting in 7,398 injuries and 2,591 deaths,” the bench noted in its order.
With PTI inputs