How are potholes adding to the country’s death toll?

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How are potholes adding to the country’s death toll?

How are potholes adding to the country’s death toll?

05 Aug 2016
Stats have it: The year 2015 witnessed a massive 10,727 deaths due to crashes caused by potholes, speed breakers and roads that were under repair or being constructed. Further, pothole related accidents recorded a death toll of 3,416 last year, as compared to 3,039 the previous year. Also, a data compiled by the Road Transport Ministry shows over 10,876 accidents reported last year due to potholes across the country.

Apart from these recorded numbers, many accidents go unreported and there is lack of detailed investigation into causes of road deaths in the country. In Maharashtra, deaths caused by potholes saw a massive seven-fold increase in 2015, according to the Surface Transport Ministry's Road Accidents report. Such a rise in fatalities indicates failure of road-owning agencies to maintain stretches. And, in Mumbai, contrary to the figures released by the civic body – claiming 1,873 potholes filled and only 144 potholes are to be filled – the number of potholes seems to be on the rise in every part of the city. Another interesting example could be that of Delhi showing only two pothole deaths in 2015 – hard to believe while there have been deaths reported just by a motorcycle being stuck in a pothole.

There seems to not be much of a difference in the scenario this year as well. Roads would keep developing potholes until the drainage system in cities and towns are improved. Further, a state public works department official reportedly mentioned that in most cities and towns, both the sewerage and stormwater drainage systems are inadequate and inefficient. Drains have been covered with unauthorised construction, hence, the flooding on roads. And, any amount of repair won't work if you have stagnant water and overloaded vehicles plying on such stretches.

The Road Transport Ministry has finalised the Rules of Road Regulation, which spells out the responsibility to make road owning agencies and traffic police accountable for failure on their part. Now, “wilful negligence/dereliction of duty on part of road owning and maintenance agencies” will be considered an offence.

Look for the CW September edition for technologies that can be adopted to repair potholes!

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