Potholes and badly designed speed breakers don’t just irritate drivers and damage vehicles. They actually kill. For the first time, the government recorded deaths caused by potholes, speed breakers and humps on roads. Last year, about 11,400 people died in such cases with Uttar Pradesh topping the list. Another 4,100 people were killed in crashes on stretches under repair or under construction.Other states with a high number of fatalities on these counts included Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal. Maharashtra registered 368 deaths in crashes due to potholes, humps and speed breakers while another 224 persons died in crashes on roads under repair or under construction.
According to the Road Accident Report (2014) published by the road transport and highways ministry, while 4,726 lives were lost in crashes due to humps, 6,672 people died in accidents caused due to potholes and speed breakers. Sources said the actual figure could be much higher since the data was not properly captured by local police while registering accidents and in many cases these are recorded as any other road crash.
Instead of wasting time and energy in trying to implement senseless bans, governments should focus on issues that are literally life-and-death for citizens. For deaths caused caused by potholes, governments must compensate the families of victims and hold contractors, government officials and ministers criminally liable for sub-standard roads. There is huge corruption in the award of road contracts, and it’s time those responsible for (a) looting taxpayers money and (b) killing people were brought to book. Also, please remember that it’s those on two-wheelers who are at greatest risk.