Ahmedabad saw 1,772 accidents and 496 fatalities on its roads in 2022-23, data tabled in the assembly shows. This translates into at least 10 deaths due to accidents every week this year, rising from six a week in 2020-21. In the whole of Gujarat, a total 44,396 accidents were reported, in which 21,384 lives were lost.
The data shows a sudden jump of 29.79% in accidents and a 35.26% increase in resulting deaths between 2020-21 and 2021-22 in Ahmedabad. The year 2022-23 also saw a 22% rise in accidents over the previous period and a 17.5% spike in fatalities. State figures meanwhile, witnessed a 13% increase in accidents between 2020-21 and 2021-22, which rose by a further 6.6% in 2022-23.
Officials said more deaths were reported from rural areas as national highways pass through villages or their outskirts. Despite signboards, speed breakers or barricades, people cross highways from non-designated spots, leading to accidents, they said.
“Moreover, I feel high-speed vehicles, which are now available in Ahmedabad, have added to the accident numbers,”said an RTO officer, refusing to be named. “But the most important factors are lack of proper infrastructure like uniform speed breakers, one-way streets, parking on both sides of the roads other than the absence of traffic sense among people.”
Another officer from the department said, “Besides other reasons, I believe that poor law enforcement is a major reason. Over 80% of two-wheeler riders began wearing helmets after the e-challan system was strictly enforced. Now, only 10% do. More and more youths are coming out on the streets, especially at night. The SG Road becomes a racetrack of sorts for them at night and the flyovers attract speed demons who cause crashes.”
Gujarat Road Safety Authority officials say almost all accidents involve human error. “Instead of right, drivers on highways often overtake from the left. Also, many people in Gujarat are unwilling to wear road safety gear, especially helmets. “We need to ensure that traffic cops crack down on violators and fine them.”