Patna, May 4 (IANS) Road accidents claimed more than 1,500 lives in Bihar in the first four months of this year, with negligent or drunk drivers being responsible for an overwhelming number of accidents, officials say.
Police as well as experts attribute the alarming rate of road accidents to traffic rule violations
"Violation of traffic rules is rampant across the state and use of alcohol by drivers is common. These two factors caused road accidents," a police official said here.
Saket Kumar Singh, a transport expert, told IANS that till a few years ago bad and rough roads were blamed for road accidents, but that was no more the case.
"It worries me that smooth roads are causing more road accidents, thanks to flouting of traffic rules by drivers," Singh said.
Another police officer, posted with the traffic police, said most of the road accidents in Bihar take place due to the negligence of drivers and traffic violations.
"We have rarely come across accident cases caused by failure of vehicle breaks, bursting of tyres or anything related with vehicle problems," he said.
According to police officials, accidents involving marriage parties is common during 'lagan' (traditional marriage season) in Bihar in summer.
"Drivers consume alcohol after sleepless nights to continue work in day time," police said. The drivers are overburdened during the marriage season.
In 10 days, more than 70 people, including a groom, were killed in a tragic road accident in Aurangabad district that also left the bride critically injured, Singh said.
He said rash driving, mostly by teenagers or youths, are killing people.
"Safe driving is uncommon...due to the failure of authorities concerned to check and punish those violating traffic rules," he said.
The official data of deaths in road accidents in the last four months this year is shocking. There has been a spurt across districts.
About 150 people were killed in such incidents in Muzaffarpur during the period, followed by 119 in Begusarai, 112 in Patna and 91 in Gaya district.
Eighty people lost their lives in East Champaran, 76 in Aurangabad, 68 in Madhubani, 60 in Saran, 54 in Samastipur, 48 in Vaishali, 54 in Gopalganj and 49 in West Champaran. Fifty people were killed in Buxar during the first four months of 2012.
The lowest road accident deaths were reported in districts like Sheohar (two), followed by 10 in Katihar, 12 in Madhepura, 14 in Khagaria, 13 in Munger and seven in Kishanganj.
Last year, during September-October, more than 500 people were killed in road accidents in Bihar.
In May 2011, a nationwide survey conducted by the Ministry of Road Transport said the number of accidents in Bihar had almost doubled over the last four years.
According to the survey report, the number of road accidents in Bihar, which was 5,594 in 2006, shot up to 10,065 in 2009.
Transport experts have termed lack of proper 'transportation arrangements' and 'narrow roads' as the primary reason behind the rise in road accidents.
In sharp contrast, New Delhi and states like Maharashtra and Gujarat have recorded a drop in the number of road accidents, the report said.
India has the world's largest number of road accident deaths - the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) put the figure at 130,000 in 2010 - with most lives lost to reckless driving, poor roads and lack of proper regulation and enforcement.