Road accidents in Kerala soared by 9.6 per cent in 2023; State now third in country

Figures show that 4010 people lost their lives in road accidents in Kerala during 2023. Representational image.

Kottayam: Road accidents in Kerala rose by 9.6 per cent in 2023, as per the latest accident data.  While 43,910 road accidents were reported in Kerala in 2022, the number peaked at 48,141 in 2023, registering an increase of 4231. Kerala now ranks third behind Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra in terms of the most number of accidents.

Figures show that 4010 people lost their lives in road accidents in Kerala during 2023. This was 307 less than that in 2022. However, the number of injured persons witnessed a 10 per cent increase from 2022 to 2023. 

According to road safety experts, the statistics reveal that the ambitious projects implemented by the Kerala Government, including the Rs 232-crore artificial intelligence-based surveillance cameras, have failed to provide the desired results.

In a suo motu case filed by the High Court following the Vadakkanchery bus accident, the Transport Commissioner had submitted that the accident rate in the state had decreased by 13.7 per cent, compared to the previous year. He also claimed that measures would be taken to bring down the accidents by 20 per cent in 2022. 

However, the latest figures show that accidents increased significantly not only in 2022 but also in 2023. As per actual figures, an average of 120 accidents took place every day on the state’s roads in 2022, which went up to 131 last year. 

Experts pointed out several flaws in the state’s road safety measures. Kerala constituted a Road Safety Authority back in 2007, but no Road Safety Commissioner was appointed yet. In 2018, a special RT (Regional Transport) office and a squad were sanctioned for road safety in each district. However, after two days, an order was issued bringing the squads under the Transport Commissioner. Similarly, funds allotted for road safety are mainly being utilized by the Motor Vehicles Department.

It is also pointed out that the state government chose to ignore a report submitted by the Amicus Curiae appointed by the High Court after the tragic bus mishap involving school students at Vadakkanchery. The amicus curiae was tasked with making recommendations on controlling the speed of vehicles. 

The main recommendation of the report was that Motor Vehicle Inspectors and Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspectors in RTOs (regional transport offices) and sub-RTOs should be deployed for enforcement duty for at least six hours a day. This recommendation was totally shunned.

Another suggestion was to bring these officers under the Road Safety Commissioner and the respective Regional Transport Officer (Enforcement). This recommendation was only partially implemented.

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