Published on January 12, 2020

Gujarat may be a dry state, but if the central government’s figures on deaths in accidents are to believed, the number of deaths in Gujarat caused by ‘driving under the influence rose twelvefold in one year, going from 10 in 2017 to 122 in 2018.

The latest report, ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2018’, by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) also stated that the number of cases registered for drunken driving showed a nearly fivefold increase – from 51 in 2017 to 300 in 2018. The number of persons injured in such in 2018 was more than four times that of the previous year, reaching 296 from 67, the report stated.

India is observing Road Safety Week from January 11 to 17. Most of the cases were registered outside Gujarat’s four major cities, as Ahmedabad recorded two and Surat one of the deaths due to drunken driving in 2018.

The report attributed 1,195 deaths in 2018 to ‘Dangerous or careless driving, overtaking, etc.’, in 2,620 reported cases. These figures were 1,082 and 2,469 in 2017, respectively, a 10.4% increase in deaths. Among the cities, Ahmedabad recorded 78 deaths due to dangerous driving, followed by Surat (44) and Vadodara (2).

According to the report, the overall number of road traffic accidents (RTA) dipped slightly

(1.2%) from 18,631 in 2017 to 18,414 in 2018, but road deaths rose by 5% from 7,663 to 8,040 in this period. The figures show that Gujarat lost 22 lives every day in road accidents. Ahmedabad and Surat recorded a rise in the number of road traffic accidents (RTAs) whereas Vadodara and Rajkot reported dips.

Amit Khatri, a city-based road safety expert, said more fatalities in fewer incidents could be attributed to multiple deaths in each accident. “We need to focus more on public transport vehicles to reduce these fatalities,” he said. “An analysis of the fatal accidents is also required for better road safety – out of 8,040 incidents, 5,972 were attributed to speeding.”

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