Accident deaths shot up by nearly 72% in Indore during the Covid pandemic, largely because of high-speed joyrides on empty roads and new drivers taking to the wheel in the absence of public transport. As many as 232 people died between April and July 2020 in 1,563 accidents, a significant jump from 135 deaths in the same period last year.
During the lockdown, there was hardly any traffic on the roads, but fatal accidents rose dramatically. The Covid toll during the same period was 312. “The data shows at least 9% increase in the number of road accidents, but a whopping 71.8% rise in road deaths,” said a city traffic police officer. The number of people injured in accidents went up by over 9% — 1,356 injuries between March and July against 1,237 last year.
More than 50% of road fatalities in rural Indore
Alarmingly, 162 people were critically injured in 2020, while last year, this figure was 13 for the same period.
“More than 50% accident deaths were reported in rural areas, especially Manpur, Kishanganj, Badgonda, Sanwer, Kshipra, Depalpur, Simrol and Khudel. Most of the fatal accidents took place on inner roads, and not on state or national highways,” DSP (traffic) Umakant Choudhary told TOI.
“Speeding was found to be the most common cause in many of the accidents,” he added.
Unavailability of public transport during the lockdown period forced more people to their bikes or private vehicles, and this could be one of the major reasons for the rise in accidents and road deaths, said police. “Even those not skilled in driving and who would have preferred public transport, purchased vehicles or drove borrowed ones during the lockdown,” the DSP pointed out.
The spurt in accidents and fatalities have caused concern in the traffic police. Officers have started analysing every accident site to check if there was any issue with road engineering and to find out how crashes can be avoided. “We are inspecting areas where the maximum number of accidents were reported,” said an officer.Source: Times of India