Recently released data from two government entities, the National Crime Records Bureau and the Ministry of Road Transport, reveal significant disparities in documenting the number of people killed in road crashes in 2022, with differences reaching up to 42 per cent.
A comparison of the data highlights discrepancies, such as a 32 per cent variance in pedestrian deaths and a 42.5 per cent difference in fatalities of truck occupants between the two reports.
The discrepancies underscore the importance of implementing a robust data collection system to guide effective policy decisions for reducing road fatalities.
According to a report from TOI, experts attribute the inconsistencies to a limited understanding among field staff responsible for recording and collecting data.
Navdeep Asija, traffic adviser to the Punjab government, points out that the road transport ministry employs 21 interlinked formats for annual data collection, and discrepancies arise due to field staff's limited understanding. Issues such as inconsistency in counting victim versus accused vehicles, especially in pedestrian incidents, contribute to data inaccuracies.
Asija emphasises the necessity for collaboration between the transport and home ministries to standardise data collection methods and ensure a more accurate understanding of road crashes.
The pressing need for training police personnel in recording incidents and investigating crashes was highlighted at the recent 'Global Road Safety Initiative' by UN agencies at the Institute of Traffic Education.
Road Transport Secretary Anurag Jain acknowledged the data-related challenges and mentioned that the new system for collecting real-time road crash data, the e-Detailed Accident Report (eDAR), is performing well and aligning with police data. He expressed confidence that this system will continue to improve over time.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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