• The severity of road accidents measured in terms of persons killed per 100 accidents is observed to have increased from less than 19.9 in 2001 to 24.7 in 2008 in India@
• The total number of road accidents has increased by nearly four times from 1,14,100 in 1970 to 4,29,910 in 2004$
• The total number of persons killed due to road accidents has increased by nearly six times from 14,500 in 1970 to 92,618 in 2004$
• Most of the fatal accidents resulted from the powered machinery, with the annual fatality rate estimated at 22 per 100,000 farmers**
• Rural areas report more deaths due to communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions (41%)*
• Besides the normal health problems, agricultural workers, in general, suffer from certain specific health hazards due to extensive use of fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides and mechanization**
• Low-income levels and consequent low nutritional intake and constant physical labour increase health problems. Poor health status further affects their productivity and forces them to spend their limited earnings on expensive health care**
@ Disaster Management in India (2011), Ministry of Home Affairs
$ Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
* Summary Report on Causes of Death in India (2001-2003)
** NCEUS (2007), Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector
According to the report entitled Disaster Management in India (2011), http://ndmindia.nic.in/UNDP-020811.pdf, which has been prepared by Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI:
• Global Status Report on Road Safety (WHO, 2009) has estimated that 1.2 million people die on the world’s road every year, and as many as 50 million others are injured. Over 90% of deaths occurred in low income and middle income countries, which have only 48% of the world’s registered vehicles. The problem of road safety is acute in India. In the year 2008 alone, number of road accidents were 4.8 lakh resulting in close to 1.2 lakh deaths and 5.2 lakh injured, many of whom are disabled for rest of their lives. Sadly, many of these victims are economically active young people.
• Between 1970 and 2008, the number of accidents quadrupled with more than 7 fold increase in injuries and more than 8 fold increase in fatalities in the backdrop of about 64 fold increase in the number of registered motor vehicles and threefold increase in road network.
• The severity of road accidents measured in terms of persons killed per 100 accidents is observed to have increased from less than 19.9 in 2001 to 24.7 in 2008 in India.
• Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka which had a share of around 30.4 % in total number of vehicles registered in India in 2006, accounted for about 38% of the total road accidents, 28 % of the total number of persons killed and 35% of the total persons injured in road accidents in year 2008.
• National Highways accounted for 29% in total road accidents and 36% in total number of persons killed in 2008. Similarly, State Highways accounted for 26% of total accidents and a share of close to 28 % in the total number of persons killed in road accidents in 2008. Highways permit greater speed resulting in relatively greater number of road accidents and fatalities.
The graph below shows the total number of road accidents has increased from 1,14,100 in 1970 to 4,39,200 in 2005. The total number of persons killed due to road accidents has increased from 14,500 in 1970 to 94,900 in 2005.
Road accidents and persons killed in India (in thousand)
• Road traffic injuries kill nearly 1.3 million women, men and children around the world every year and are responsible for hundreds of thousands of injuries and disability. World Health Organization estimates predict that road traffic injury will increase from being the ninth leading cause of death globally in 2004 to be the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every day around the world almost 16 000 people die from injuries and violence, and that this accounted for 9.8% of the world’s deaths and 12.3% of the world’s burden of disease in 2004.
• Crash victims are often working age adults, whose families are then left without a breadwinner or bear the added expenses of caring for a disabled family member.
• In India reported number of road traffic deaths during 2006 was 1,05,725 out of which 93% were males and 7 % were females.
• Reported number of road traffic injuries in India during 2006 was 4,52,922.
• Estimated annual economic cost of road traffic injuries and/or deaths in India during 2000 was Rs. 55,000 crore
• In India, drivers and passengers of motorized two-wheelers (22%) account for the bulk of the most vulnerable road users, to be followed by users and drivers of passenger cars and taxis (15%), pedestrians (13%) and trucks (12%).
• During the year 2004, of all the registered vehicles, 71% were two-wheelers.
• Road traffic death rate (per 1,00,000 population) in India has increased from 7.8 in 2002 to 9.2 in 2006.
• India and Thailand have seat-belt installation standards applicable only for the front seats.
• The Government of India has taken initiatives to improve public transport services as a viable alternative to private car transport.
• The effectiveness of enforcement of helmet laws is quite low in India.
According to the data provided by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, http://morth.nic.in/:
• The total number of road accidents has increased by nearly four times from 1,14,100 in 1970 to 4,29,910 in 2004
• The total number of persons killed due to road accidents has increased by nearly six times from 14,500 in 1970 to 92,618 in 2004
• The total number of accidents per thousand vehicles has actually reduced from 814.42 in 1970 to 59.12 in 2004
• The total number of persons killed by motor vehicles in 2005 stood out be highest in the states of Andhra Pradesh (10,534), to be followed by Maharastra (10,259) and Uttar Pradesh (9,955)
According to National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector--NCEUS (2007), Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector, http://nceus.gov.in/Condition_of_workers_sep_2007.pdf
• A field study surveyed power thresher accidents in Punjab (Northern India) and reported that about 73 per cent of the accidents were due to human factors, 13 per cent due to machine factors, and the remaining 14 per cent were due to crop and other factors. The All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRP) on human engineering and safety in agriculture reported accident and injury data (1995-1999) from forty-four sample villages of Eastern, Southern, Central and Northern regions points out that while farm mechanization is more in the Northern India, accidents were more in the villages in Southern India. Tractor and tractor implements, thresher, sprayer, sugar cane crusher and chaff cutters accidents accounted for 70 per cent of the total farm accidents.
• Besides the normal health problems, agricultural workers, in general, suffer from certain specific health hazards due to extensive use of fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides and mechanization.
• The increasing use of chemicals and biological agents with hazard potential unknown to people; the indiscriminate use of agrochemicals including pesticides, agricultural machineries and equipment, and their impact on health and safety of exposed population; pose serious safety and health risks for agricultural workers.
• Since the occupational safety and health services are out of the reach of this group their vulnerability is further accentuated. Pesticides are usually sprayed and it has been observed that the sprayer operators experience fatigue mainly due to carrying the sprayer load. The vibration arising out of powered sprayers also causes discomfort to the operator. The pesticide applicators, mixers and loaders are at the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals.
• It is not uncommon that the farmers broadcast pesticides or prepare pesticide solutions with bare hands. Improper handling of pesticides, spraying without wearing personal protective devises, oral poisoning of pesticides, etc. led to many sprayer related accidents. Also due to low education and awareness levels among the group they are subject to greater health and occupational hazards.
• The risks to life of agricultural workers are greatly increased due to low levels of health security. Low-income levels and consequent low nutritional intake and constant physical labour increase health problems. Poor health status further affects their productivity and forces them to spend their limited earnings on expensive health care. In most cases, the workers in the informal sector do not obtain any support for meeting the medical cost. Lack of resources to pay for the health care often forces the poor workers either to forego it or become indebted or improvised while trying to pay for it.
According to the Summary Report on Causes of Death in India (2001-2003),
• Rural areas report more deaths due to communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions (41%). The urban areas have a lower number of deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions but a higher proportion from non-communicable diseases (56%). Their proportion is less in rural areas (40%). Injuries constitute about the same proportion in both rural and urban areas; however, the specific causes of injury vary.
• Overall, the leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease (19%), followed by respiratory diseases (namely chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, asthma, other respiratory diseases; 9%), diarrhoeal diseases (8%), perinatal conditions (6.3%), respiratory infections such as acute pneumonia (6.2%), tuberculosis (6%), malignant and other neoplasms (5.7%), senility (5.1% – which is concentrated at ages 70 and higher), unintentional injuries: other (4.9%), and symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions (4.8%).
• Notable differences by gender are seen in the case of diarrhoeal diseases with 10% of female deaths against 7% of male deaths, tuberculosis with 5% of female deaths vis-à-vis 7% male deaths, and cardiovascular diseases with 17% female deaths versus 20% male deaths.
• Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among males as well as females. The male-female patterns are similar, except for a notably higher proportion of female deaths from cancer (12%) vis-à-vis males (8%). In contrast, males have higher number of deaths from tuberculosis (11%) versus females (8%) and digestive diseases (6%) versus females (4%).
• HIV/AIDS is a direct cause of death in about 2.4% of deaths at ages 15-59 in the states with higher HIV prevalence namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland. It is responsible for only 0.3% in the remaining lower prevalence states. These ratios are comparable to those observed differences in the antenatal clinic data from the National AIDS Control Organisation.
• In Eastern and Northeastern regions, deaths due to malaria are notably higher at 6% and 5% respectively, of deaths due to all causes. In the Southern region, suicide constitutes nearly 5% of all deaths at all ages. Senility and ill-defined symptoms and signs constitute 8% to 12% of deaths across different regions with the highest (12%) in Southern region. The results are influenced by the age at death, with the States having higher proportion of older populations showing more deaths due to ill-defined causes