Remember New York Times' reporter Amelia Gentleman's "Death in the Fast Lane" article last year? One of the things it mentioned was that experts predict India would take over China in terms of annual fatalities due to road accidents.
I read in the BBC yesterday that India does have more deaths than anywhere else in the world, which a government committee called "a man-made epidemic."
From the BBC News:
In 2006 - the latest year for which figures are available - more than 100,000 people died, and an estimated 2,000,000 were seriously injured.
The economic and social costs of these shocking figures are enormous.
India loses 3% of its GDP to road crashes every year. Many of the deaths happen in rural areas, and one study found that 70% of families who lose their main wage earner in a traffic accident subsequently fall below the poverty line.
BBC decided to put its reporter on a auto rickshaw to give the readers a sense of the chaotic traffic on the road.
And I also saw this on the State Department's travel guide to India:
Buses, patronized by hundreds of millions of Indians, are convenient in that they serve almost every city of any size. However, they are usually driven fast, recklessly, and without consideration for the rules of the road.<snip>
On Indian roads, might makes right, and buses and trucks epitomize this fact. For instance, buses and trucks often run red lights and merge directly into traffic at yield points and traffic circles.
Wikipedia has quite an interesting list for major road accidents till date. Notice that India does not show up on the list until March 5, 1980. I thought this 1984 list was particularly interesting because the only three countries listed here are India, Nepal and Pakistan. (I listed this just for reference. Of course, not everything on wikipedia is accurate.)
I counted 12 for India in 2008 till date, and 7 for China.
Click here to see in numbers (from 1970 to 2005), India's road accidents, according to the Department of Road Transport and Highways.
What do you think about India's increasing road accidents? Please post your thoughts below.