Deaths Due to Road Fatalities – Mortality Among Young Men Is High

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A study published in Lancet Public Health found that death due to road accidents are high among the young population of the country.


  • The study India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative published in the journal Lancet Public Health showed that the leading cause of death among young men in the age group of 15-39 years was due to road injury in 2017.
  • According to the study, this is the second largest killer among both the sexes.
  • The study is the first comprehensive population-level estimates of road injury deaths by type of road uses in each state.
  • The estimates were based on verbal autopsy reports.
  • It covered the period from 1990 to 2017.
  • Total deaths due to road injuries in the country during this period was 58.7% compared to 8.1% globally.
  • In 2017 there occurred 2,19,000 road injury deaths in the country. Of them, 77% of the deaths were of men, with death rates three times higher than women.
  • For the population as a whole, the death rates are standardised at 17.2 deaths per 1 lakh population.
  • For men, it was 25.7 per 1 lakh population and for women, it was 8.5 per 1 lakh population.
  • Among the type of road users, pedestrians accounted for 35.1% (76,729) deaths and older adults were the largest casualties.
  • Motorcyclists accounted for 30.9% of all road fatalities.
  • Motor vehicle occupants accounted for 26.4%.
  • Cyclists accounted for 7% of road fatalities.
  • The death rates due to road injuries were higher among motorcyclists and cyclists at 69% and 33%. This is higher than anywhere in the world.
  • According to the study, if the death rates in 2017 due to road injuries were to continue, none of the states in the country will be able to achieve the SDG 2020 target of reducing such deaths by half from 2015 to 2020 or even by 2030.


Time and again several reports from both public and private agencies show that the burden of death due to road accidents is high in India. On its part, the government has brought in the Motor Vehicles Act with steep penalties for traffic violations in the hope that by making people follow the rules, road accidents can be reduced. But, partial implementation of the Act by the states is hampering the progress.

Infrastructural issues like poor road design and poor maintenance are other reasons for road accidents. Also, poor maintenance of vehicles is another reason. On the part of the people, following road rules diligently will help in reducing road injuries and death burden.

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