In the recently published Road Accidents in India report, the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu reported the greatest number of road accident fatalities for 2021. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has published data revealing the rankings of each state and union territory of India in terms of road accidents and fatalities for the past 5 years along with reported numbers.

Uttar Pradesh (UP) stood at the top of the list for the fifth year in a row with 21,227 reported fatalities. The number was up from pandemic affected 2020 (19,149 fatalities reported), although showed a decline from pre-pandemic 2019 and 2018. Road accident fatalities in Tamil Nadu increased four places from sixth in 2019 and 2020 to second in 2021. The state reported 15,384 road accident deaths in the year with Maharashtra sliding to third in the ranking with 13,528 fatalities. Madhya Pradesh [MP] (12,057) ranked fourth in number of fatalities with Rajasthan (10,043) rounding out the top 5 states.

Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu (TN) both reported a gain in the number of road accident deaths as compared to 2019 – a notable spike in the case of TN (up from 10,525 in 2019) with Rajasthan seeing a minor contraction in the numbers. 2020 data for all states were among the lowest in the last 5 years as pandemic-related restrictions kept vehicles and people off the roads.

Moving to total road accidents in the year, Tamil Nadu topped the charts with 55,682 accidents reported with MP ranking second with 48,877 reported incidents. Uttar Pradesh meanwhile reported 37,729 road accidents in the year, which when read in conjunction with the number of fatalities reported by the state, revealed a higher accident severity rate than TN or MP. UP reported 56 deaths for every 100 accidents in the state with TN and MP reporting 28 and 25 deaths per 100 accidents respectively. The all-India average stood at 37 deaths for every 100 accidents.

The data further revealed that the top ten states for road accident deaths accounted for 73.5 per cent of the total fatalities reported on Indian roads for 2021. The states in order of ranking were as follows – UP, TN, Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and Gujarat.

However, of the ten top states, it was only Bihar that featured one of the highest accident severity rates. Mizoram, Bihar and Punjab had the highest accident severity rates among all the states at 81, 80 and 78 deaths per 100 accidents respectively. Mizoram had a high severity ranking owing to the numbers being in the tens rather than thousands like larger more populous states. It reported 56 deaths and 69 accidents in the year. Bihar meanwhile reported 9,533 road accidents and 7,660 deaths while Punjab recorded 5871 accidents and 4,589 fatalities. Bihar stood second in terms of accident severity while UP was ranked a lower seventh.

The MoRTH compiled data also showed that two-wheelers and pedestrians were the road users most at risk in the country accounting for 45.2 per cent and 18.9 per cent of the cumulative 1,53,972 fatalities reported in 2021. The data also revealed that overspeeding was a cause for concern with over 70 per cent of accidents and fatalities attributed to it in 2021.