India road crashes kill 146,133 people in 2015

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A crane removes a damaged bus from the scene of accident on the Mumbai - Pune expressway near Panvel, on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, 05 June 2016Image source, EPA
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Experts blame poorly designed roads for the high number of accidents

More than 140,000 people were killed on India's roads last year, according to figures released by the government.

The total number of fatalities represent an increase of 4.6% on the previous year.

More than half of the people killed in more than 500,000 road accidents last year were aged 15-34.

Road accidents are common in India, often due to poor driving or badly maintained roads and vehicles. Experts blame poorly designed roads.

A report released by India's ministry of road transport says:

  • 146,133 people were killed in road accidents in India in 2015, up from 139,671 in 2014
  • There were 501,423 road accidents in 2015 - or 1,374 accidents every day - up from 489,400 in 2014
  • 500,279 people were injured in road accidents in 2015, up from 493,474 in 2014
  • 400 road deaths take place every day on India's roads
  • 13 states, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, accounted for more than 80% of all road accidents and fatalities
  • Nearly eight in ten accidents were caused by drivers, with 62% of those blamed on speeding.

Transport minister Nitin Gadkari said there is an "urgent need" to improve road infrastructure as the numbers showed road accidents were one of the single biggest causes of death in India.

'Negligible impact'

"Accidents are killing more people in India than terrorism or natural disasters and yet we never talk about them," Mr Gadkari said.

"It saddens me that there has been a negligible impact on reducing the number of deaths despite our best efforts in the past two years," he said.

Image source, AFP
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The government says there is an urgent need to improve road infrastructure
Image source, EPA
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More than 500,000 people were injured in road crashes in 2015

Mr Gadkari was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying his ministry was working to expand the country's highway network from 96,000 to 200,000km (60,000 to 124,000 miles) to ease the burden on the roads.

Road accidents shave 3% off the country's GDP every year, he added.

The ministry said it is trying to improve poorly designed roads, identify vulnerable spots, and deploy electronic surveillance to deter traffic offences.

It is also in talks with state governments over a new road safety bill, which will be tabled in the next session of the parliament.

The proposed law will crack down on traffic offences and suggests steep penalties for offenders, including minimum seven-year jail terms in accidents that result in deaths.