CHENNAI: After years of topping the charts on road fatality numbers, Tamil Nadu has finally put an end to its notorious track record, with Covid restrictions in 2020 aiding the fall in numbers. Between January and December last year, as many as 8,060 people died in road accidents.
The last time the State reported less than 9,000 road fatalities in a year was way back in 1995, when the vehicle population was below one crore in the State. Now, the population has increased to over three crore.
The State recorded 17,218 deaths due to road mishaps in 2016, and the figure gradually fell to 10,525 deaths in 2019, according to data revealed by the Transport Department.
The report noted that 98.16 per cent of the road deaths (7,912) last year happened due to the driver’s fault. Surprisingly, no fatality has been attributed to road damage or poor maintenance.
Helmets could’ve prevented 44.91% of biker fatalities
Curbs imposed on transportation during the lockdown, efforts of various government departments, strict enforcement of traffic rules, safety measures in accident-prone zones and effective healthcare infrastructure led to the drop in fatalities, officials said.
The data also revealed two-wheelers were involved in 37 per cent of deaths, and 44.91 per cent of two-wheeler fatalities were attributed to non-wearing of helmets. Most deaths due to lack of helmets were in Coimbatore (85), Kancheepuram (74) and Thanjavur (67). “Helmet compliance increased substantially among bike riders in rural areas. However, the benefits of increasing awareness can be fully gauged only when transportation fully resumes,” said a DSP from Tiruvallur district.
According to the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety, over-speeding of vehicles, overloading of goods, overloading of persons in goods vehicles, drunken driving, jumping red lights, and use of mobile phones while driving are the most severe traffic violations, and offenders’ driving licence should be suspended. “We suspended 1,11,053 licences between January and December last year,” a senior transport official said.