Accident Analysis of a Two-Lane National Highway in India 2015-26-0162
Road accidents and persons killed in India have been reported to the tune of 4,90,383 and 1,38,258 respectively during 2012. On National Highways (NHs), major share of accidents (about 29%) and number of persons killed (35.3%) are observed out of total accidents. National Highways in India constitute about 2% of total road network (92,851 km) in India, but carries about 40% of traffic. 46% (42,829 km) of NHs in India comprises of two-lane and about 19% (17239 km) of NHs are single or intermediate-lane.
Road accidents being multi-disciplinary in nature involves attention of multiple departments such as Highways Authority, Police, Motor Vehicles, Automobile Manufacturers, NGOs, etc. Owing to spurt in growth of motor vehicle population in India, road accidents are not reduced significantly despite improvement in NHs (widening of carriageway and riding quality). Normally widening of two-lane NHs to four-lane is taken up based on current and projected traffic volume count in passenger car units to increase capacity of highway, and thereby facilitating highway for higher vehicular speed. Increase in vehicular speed affects safety of local traffic from abutting villages or towns including pedestrians and other slow moving/vulnerable modes.
Considering the above cited reasons and non-availability of adequate research work on identification of causes of road accidents on two-lane National Highways in India, this study makes an attempt to examine fatal accident pattern and its characteristics including traffic for a 96 km long two-lane NH-8 stretch (from Beawar at km 64.000 to Gomti chouraha at km 162.000 in Rajasthan) during 2008-2012 by collecting primary data (road inventory-road furniture and cross sectional, and abutting land use) and secondary data (fatal accident First Information Reports from respective police stations in two districts namely Ajmer and Rajsambadh, classified traffic volume count, and NH section strip plan). Fatal FIRs for NH-8 section during the period cited are coded and verified as per the instructions developed in “Road Accident Study” by I.I.T. Delhi for National Highways Authority of India, and subsequently coded fatal FIR data are cleaned and analyzed.
The above-cited detailed fatal accident study results provide useful inferences that not only appreciates accident causal factors, pattern (hourly, daily, monthly and yearly) and characteristics (type of crash, risk (crash) involved in maneuvering of various modes including pedestrians, etc.) for two-lane NH section in India but also helps to suggest effective remedial measures for the studied NH section to curb fatal accidents. The study results may also help Highway designers/Authority to also take into account risk factors pertaining to accidents while upgrading NHs from two-lane to four-lane.