By Devanik Saha
The viral video of a 32-year-old man, Siddharth Sharma, being mowed down by a Mercedes car driven by a teenager in Delhi has generated a lot of outrage, but Sharma is one of 71 Indians who die every day in accidents involving cars, jeeps and taxis, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data.
As many as 139,671 people lost their lives on India’s roads during 2014, which means 382 died every day, IndiaSpend had reported. The data reveal that Delhi is India’s deadliest city: 1,671 died in road accidents that year.
Sharma’s death sparked questions about growing lawlessness on Delhi’s roads, which have witnessed a 24 percent rise in road accidents over three years.
In December 2015, the Delhi Traffic Police complied with the Supreme Court’s recommendations of enforcing stricter traffic rules, such as suspending the driving licences of violators for three months.
“Seizing and suspension of driving licences, even for the first offenders, will take place for jumping red light, drunken driving, over-speeding, using mobile phone while driving, and carrying passengers in goods vehicles,” Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner (Traffic) told the DNA.
As the incident video shows, Sharma was a pedestrian trying to cross the road when he was mowed down: 12,330 pedestrians were killed in 2014, accounting for 8.8 percent of the total deaths.
Persons aged between 15-34 years account for 53.8 percent of the deaths (Sharma was 32).
The car was being driven by a 17-year-old, who was with seven friends, according to this Times of India report, which means he did not have a driving license. The minimum age to get one is 18.
Further, the accident happened around 8:45 pm, during an accident-prone period: 17 percent of accidents occur between 6 pm and 9 pm.
As many as 8 percent of road accidents involved drivers without a license. The juvenile was a repeat offender, the police found.
The juvenile’s father has been booked under section 109 read with 304 (abetment to culpable homicide) and the son, under 304 (culpable homicide).
(The author is a freelance journalist based in New Delhi.)
(IndiaSpend.com is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit)