India has the dubious distinction of being World #1 as far as road accident deaths are concerned. In 2011, for instance, 497,686 road accidents were recorded across the country, resulting in 142,485 fatalities and 511,394 injuries. Almost 29 people died per 100 accidents. The number of road accident deaths has gone up almost ten times from 1970.

A look at the statistics shows up some grim statistics. Some highlights are as follows:

  • The total number of road accidents has increased from 114,100 in 1970 to 497,686 in 2011, up 4.36 times.
  • Persons killed in road accidents has gone up a whopping 9.8 times, from 14,500 in 1970 to 142,485 in 2011.
  • Even though the increase in the number of accidents is showing signs of declining, the number of persons killed is increasing, as is the number of persons killed per 100 accidents, which used to be 12.7 in 1970 and was 28.6 in 2011. More people are dying in lesser number of accidents.
  • Population growth cannot account for the number of those killed as the number of fatalities per lakh population has gone up from 2.7 in 1970 to 11.8 in 2011.
  • However, the fatality rate per 10,000 vehicles has gone down substantially from 103.5 in 1970 to 10 in 2011. It could have been assumed that with the increasing number of vehicles, the number of accidents and fatalities would have increased.
  • A study of 38 select cities across India saw Mumbai with the largest number of accidents (25,471), but Delhi with 7,281 accidents saw 2,065 people killed and 7,226 people injured ... Mumbai had 563 people losing their lives.
  • 7,643 people died and 32,619 were injured in 7,094 fatal accidents in the top twelve cities of India – Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Patna, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Indore, Kolkata, Jaipur and Agra.
  • The top ten States (Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal) account for 83% (4,05,509) of all road accidents and 76.5% (1,09,045) of people killed.
  • Severity of accident or the number of people killed for every 100 accidents is the highest for Mizoram (83.5). In fact 17 of the 28 States and 4 of 7 Union Territories show a severity rate higher than the national average of 28.6.

There is a myth among people that most accidents occur at night because of high speeds, sleepy drivers, etc. However, statistics show that more than 64% accidents occur between 0900 and 2100 hours of the day, the time most people are up and about, in a position to help and come to the rescue of accident victims. The time between midnight and six in the morning accounts for less than 15% of accidents.

Time No. of Accidents Share  
0600 - 0900 hrs 57,531 11.6%  
0900 - 1200 hrs 80,709 16.2%  
1200 - 1500 hrs 75,336 15.1%  
1500 - 1800 hrs 83,829 16.8%  
1800 - 2100 hrs 79,555 16.0%  
2100 - 0000 hrs 52,239 10.5%  
0000 - 0300 hrs 33,130 6.7%  
0300 - 0600 hrs 35,357 7.1%  
Total 24 hrs 497,686 100.0%  


A look at the statistics makes for alarming reading. What is also disturbing is that many of these people who die could have been saved had help reached them quickly. It is the first few minutes after a trauma ... the Golden Hour ... that is the most critical. If a victim is administered proper trauma care and management and evacuated to a medical facility, chances of survival improves dramatically. Most people die of shock or excessive bleeding. And these can be addressed and a fatality averted.

By 2030 it is estimated that, globally, road traffic injuries will be the fifth largest reason for death, killing more people than diabetes or HIV/AIDS. We are doing our humble bit in trying to stem this rise of fatalities by training the citizenry of the country to be more responsible and to be at the forefront in the effort to save lives.

The Samaritans Project envisages a day when there will be a group of Samaritans in every city, every town, every village of the country, to provide basic first aid to those in need and to help accident victims by securing and stabilising them before being evacuated to a hospital.