Better late than never

Rashi Aditi Ghosh / Zee Research Group

Next time you are speeding during the non-peak office hours, adhere to traffic rules and drive carefully to reach back home safe. That’s because maximum accidental deaths in India occur between 3 to 6 pm and 6 to 9 pm, according to the latest National Crime Records Bureau 2012 report.

In 2012, while 16.7 per cent of traffic accidental deaths occurred between 1500 to 1800 hrs, the 1800 to 2100 hrs slot reported 16.6 per cent traffic accidental deaths. The NCRB has divided a day’s 24 hours into three hour slots from midnight.

The pattern was similar in 2011 with the above two time slots registering highest number of accidental deaths. Then, the 1500 to 1800 hrs slot recorded 16.6 per cent of traffic accidental deaths while 1800 to 2100 hrs slot registered 16 per cent.

Dr Nishi Mittal, head of the department, traffic engineering, at the New Delhi-based Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) suggests increased stress level due to work pressure aggravated by poor travelling conditions as the primary reason for high casualties in the above two time slots.

“Stress levels to reach back home under office pressure and poor lighting conditions on the roads are the major reasons behind the rising number of accidental deaths during 3 to 6 and 6 to 9 pm, supposedly the after office hours,” she stressed.

Apart from the two time slots, traffic accidental deaths are reported to be highest during 9 am to 12 pm popularly known as the office hours and 12 to 3 pm (the lunch intervals). In 2012, the 9 am to 12 pm slot reported 15.3 per cent of traffic accidental deaths while 12 noon to 3 pm slot registered 14.8 per cent.

The way forward is to improve road infrastructure, suggests Dr Sudeshna Mitra, assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and a part of National Mission Project on Pedagogic Development for the course ‘Transportation Engineering’.

“High speed facilities and national highways in India are nowhere in comparison to other countries of the world.”

Stringent norms in issuance of driving licenses and improving traffic management system are the need of the hour.

“Getting a driver’s license is so easy in India. Even illiterate drivers get license very easily and their incompetency in understanding the traffic rules and regulations results in alarming increase in the number of accidental deaths,” Dr Mitra added.