New Delhi: Despite several steps taken to prevent the loss of human lives on railway tracks, a total of 27,987 railway accidents were reported in 2019, with 3,569 persons injured and 24,619 deaths, according to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.
NCRB data said that the majority (76.3%) of railway accident cases (21,361) were reported under the ‘Fall from trains/collision with people on track’ category.
Incidentally, the Niti Aayog had also pointed out this factor in a letter to the Railway Board Chairman in July, and had suggested steps like introducing sliding doors in suburban trains to address an issue which has confronted the Indian Railways for many years now.
An analysis of the classification of railway accidents revealed that incidents listed under ‘Fall from Trains or Collision with People at Track’ constituted the majority (76.3%) of railway accidents (21,361 out of 27,987). The state of Maharashtra reported the majority of such cases, accounting for 28.4% (6,059 out of 21,361 cases) of the total cases of people falling from trains or from the collision of trains with people on the track. However, it is to be noted that a large number of deaths due to falling from trains happen in Mumbai’s local trains.
A total of 18,339 persons died either due to falling from trains or as a result of the collision of trains with people on the track, accounting for 74.5% of total deaths in railway accidents (24,619 deaths). The NCRB data has recorded a total of 1,788 cases of railway crossing accidents, which caused 1,762 deaths and left 165 persons injured. Uttar Pradesh has reported the maximum cases of railway crossing accidents (851 out of 1,788 cases) accounting for 47.5% of such accidents in 2019.
The maximum number of railway accidents were reported from Maharashtra, the state accounting for 22.6% (6,338 out of 27,987) cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh (14.2%) (3,980 cases). The two states have also reported the highest fatalities in railways accidents, accounting for 15.9% (3,916 out of 24,619 deaths) and 14.3% (3,521 deaths) of
total deaths in railways accidents respectively. A total of 2,435 people out of 3,569 persons injured in railway accidents were reported in Maharashtra alone in 2019.
The data also showed that the most number of accidents occurred in the month of June and in the early morning hours. A month-wise distribution showed that most railway accidents were reported in the month of June (2,522 cases), contributing nine percent of total railway accidents. Maharashtra (552 out of 2,522 cases) has reported the maximum railway accidents in the month of June, accounting for 21.9% of such cases.
Most of railway accidents (4,518 out of 27,987) in 2019 took place during 6 am and 9 am, accounting for 16.1% of the total. About 16% (4,468 cases) of accidents were reported from the next three-hour period.
The report said the majority of the states furnished data related to railways accidents under the unclassified category ‘other causes’, such as fall of persons from trains and persons coming under trains. Other causes include Fault of Driver, Sabotage, Signalmen’s Error and Mechanical Failure.
A total of 27,662 out of 27,987 cases of railways accidents were furnished under the ‘Other Cause’ (fall of persons from trains, persons coming under trains etc. come under this category). In 2019, a total of 51 cases of railway accidents occurred due to the fault of the driver.
Mechanical defects (like poor design, track faults, bridge/tunnel collapse, etc.) caused 155, 41 and 31 railways accidents in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand respectively. In the former, a total of 29 persons died in railway accidents due to fault of the driver. Mechanical defects led to the loss of 410 lives in railways accidents during 2019, the report said.
The maximum number of railway crossing accidents were reported in Uttar Pradesh, the state accounting for 47.6% (851 out of 1,788) cases, followed by Bihar (13.5% of total and 241 cases) and Madhya Pradesh (12.9% and 230 cases). These states also reported the highest fatalities in railway crossing accidents, accounting for 48.5% (855 out of1,762 deaths), 13.7% (242 deaths) and 13.2% (232 deaths) respectively in 2019.
In order to prevent railway crossing accidents, the public transporter has undertaken a massive exercise to eliminate all unmanned level crossings. Even manned level crossings are undergoing changes with the construction of underpasses or over-bridges.
A cause-wise analysis of road accidents (including unmanned railway crossing) revealed that most of the road accident deaths (including unmanned railway crossing) in 53 mega cities were due to over-speeding, accounting for 54.9% (8,117 out of 14,785 deaths) of total deaths due to road accidents during 2019.
A total of 1,568 railway accidents were reported in 53 mega cities. Delhi reported the maximum number of such incidents, contributing 54.7% of the total such railway accidents in 2019.
Deaths caused due to traffic crashes, which include road and railway accidents, accounted for nearly 44% of the total 4.12 lakh fatalities. Eighty-five percent of deaths caused due to traffic accidents were reported as road accidents, while railway accidents and accidents at railway crossings caused the remaining 15 % of these deaths, the NCRB report said.
A total of 4,67,171 ‘Traffic Accidents’ were reported during the year comprising 4,37,396 ‘Road Accidents’, 1,788 ‘Railway Crossing Accidents’ and 27,987 ‘Railway Accidents’.These accidents caused injuries to 4,42,996 persons and 1,81,113 deaths. The percentage share of deaths due to ‘Road Accidents’, ‘Railway Accidents’ and ‘Railway Crossing Accidents’ was reported as 85.4% (1,54,732 deaths), 13.6% (24,619 deaths) and 1.0% (1,762 deaths) respectively.