According to the latest report shared by the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the highest number of accidents recorded in 2021 involved vehicles that are less than five years old. In 2022, India recorded 1,55,622 deaths due to road accidents and 59.7 per cent of fatalities occurred due to over-speeding. While newer cars are safer in terms of safety equipment and crash test norms, they are also faster, giving more scope to the driver to overspeed.

Whether this leads to the person behind the wheel becoming overconfident and careless is a point of discussion. But the statistics are clear, new cars are adding to more number of accidents. This also underscores the point RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India made earlier this month, stating that ultimate safety means avoiding accidents rather than only relying on passive safety features newer cars are equipped with.

“Safety means ultimately that a customer should first be able to buy a safe car, but more importantly, that he should have the minimum chance of having an accident,” Bhargava had said.

Now the argument isn’t about vehicle being compromised on safety features or crash test compliance. These are very crucial technologies and features reducing the scope of injuries or fatalities in accidents.

That said, the real concern remains about avoiding these accidents by formalising regulations and traffic guidelines. Maintaining certain speed limits in cities and on highways, reinforcing penalties, not only in cities, but also on highways and making separate lanes for slow moving vehicles, especially on highways and wider roads, are some of the areas the government should look at. In fact, many a time, slow moving vehicles on highways lead to major accidents as speed limit is on the higher side and these roads are designed for relatively faster commutes.

In 2021, 2.78 lakh road accidents were recorded where 1.02 lakh accidents were fatal. Two-wheelers accounted for 40.7 per cent of fatalities on highways while pedestrian fatalities accounted for 16.9 per cent. Over-speeding accounted for 71.7 per cent of the road accidents, 69.6 percent of total deaths and 72.9 percent of total injuries.