Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Pedestrian Crashes In India Exceed The Combined Road Fatalities Of The Entire European Union and Japan,

May 15, 2023
Picture for representational purpose. Photo: Thomas G. | Pixabay

Pedestrian crashes are a major safety concern in India, with about one in every ten traffic-related fatalities in the country being a pedestrian.

A report presented by Bosch Limited during the 7th UN Global Road Safety Week said that India’s 2021 pedestrian fatalities numbered 29,200, which exceeded the combined road fatalities of the entire European Union and Japan, with another 60,000 pedestrians injured.

Every second pedestrian accident in rural roads contributes to pedestrian fatality. However, in urban and semi urban areas, the fatality risk of pedestrians is relatively lower in comparison with rural roads.

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) registered 68,053 pedestrian crashes in 2021, which contributed to 16.5% of the total accidents that year.

The report by Bosch Limited, a leading supplier of technology and services, and pioneers in accident research is a first comprehensive study analysing pedestrian behaviour in India. The report aims to understand the characteristics of pedestrian crashes in India and to identify counter-measures that can improve road safety in India.

The report, based on the in-depth accident database of over 6300 cases of the Road Accident Sampling System for India (RASSI), reveals that pedestrian crashes are a significant safety concern in India.

It says that 99% of pedestrians are susceptible to injury and that human error is the leading contributor to pedestrian accidents in India, followed by infrastructure and vehicle-related factors.

One unique behaviour in Indian accidents observed by the report is where close to 12% of pedestrians cross halfway and stop in the middle of the road to allow the vehicle to move on the other lane. In the western world the driver stops the vehicle and allow the pedestrian to cross and in India pedestrian stops and allow the vehicle to pass.

The report also reveals that daytime accidents are a bigger threat to Indian pedestrians than night-time accidents – 52% of accidents occur during the day.

There can be no “one reason” for the pedestrian accidents. Each accident has multi-level contributing factor from either of human, infrastructure, and vehicle or all combined together. human error contributed 91%, infrastructure 63% and vehicle 44%.

All the three factors shown contribute in one way or the other for crash. In many cases all three factors will be the major contributors. Hence a holistic approach towards the solving the problems must be established in order to mitigate pedestrian accidents.

Commenting on the launch of the report Girikumar Kumaresh, Principal Advisor Road Safety, Future Mobility & Expert Accident Research, Bosch India said, “At Bosch, we are committed to make roads safer for everyone. Today, pedestrian safety is a crucial aspect of road safety, and it is concerning to see the high number of pedestrian accidents in India. Our report on Indian Pedestrian Behaviour sheds light on the contributing factors to pedestrian accidents and highlights the need for effective road safety measures and a multi-dimensional approach to improve traffic safety in India. As individuals, we must also prioritize safety by following traffic rules and being vigilant on the roads”.

Girja Shankar Kaura

The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist, who has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in an extensive career.