It’s been 60 days since the Centre put in place a stringent national lockdown as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, over 855 people have been hospitalised with the infection in the district, accounting for over 42 deaths.
The pandemic has affected all ways of life, forcing the biggest lockdown in history with billions of people advised to stay indoors. But an unintended consequence of the lockdown has been a fall in the number of deaths reported across the city in road fatalities. The available data indicates the trend.
The number of fatalities due to accidents in the city has dropped by 29 per cent this year compared to corresponding period of the previous year on the backdrop of an extended lockdown over the past two months in the city.
The cases of fatal accidents were recorded a sharp drop in the first 45 days since the enforcement of the lockdown on March 23 which was strictly being enforced. During the four-month period from January to April last year, 63 people were killed in road accidents. In 2020, this figure has dropped by 29% to 45 per cent.
In 2020 during the same period, 45 people were killed and 113 seriously injured in 149 accidents. The number of this year’s till date fatalities also included death figures of the post lockdown period since January 2020.
In the month of April, as many as 12 cases of accidents were reported in which five people were killed and six others were seriously injured. While three people were succumbed to injuries in a single day. The relaxations in the lockdown may have caused increase in the rate of mishaps this month.
Despite having placed Nashik in the red zone in the fourth phase of the lockdown, the relaxations causing several side effects also. The police presence on the road has been reduced, the signal system is working off and on, and the number of people leaving home for work or business purposes is gradually increasing.
In Panchavati alone, three people have been killed so far and the accident on the Darna bridge is also a result of high speed and reckless driving, police officials said. During normal situation, the city records on an average of 13 to 18 fatal accidents per month due to high speed of vehicles.
Traffic signals not working fully
The number of signal systems across the city is large given the increasing number of vehicular traffic. Even then, there has been reports of traffic jam instances in many places of the city. But since there is less traffic on the road on the backdrop of the lockdown, the police may have turned off all the signal systems in the entire city. However the systems did not start operating even after relaxations in rules. This may encourage high speed of vehicles and rash driving inviting accidents.