Pune district has reported the highest number of accidental emergencies in Maharashtra in 2017, according to the data released by state-backed Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), one of the most widely used networks in case of road emergencies. The MEMS, which can be accessed by dialling 108 number, attended to 4,969 accidental emergencies on the roads of Pune district last year. In 2016, it served 4,509 emergencies in the district while the number was 3,250 in 2015.
Nashik and Ahmednagar followed Pune as the districts reporting maximum road emergencies. Nashik had 4,858 cases while Ahmednagar reported 4,858. In the case of both these districts, however, the number has come down from the previous year. In 2016, Nashik had reported 5,690 cases while Ahmednagar had 4,905. The MEMS data was released on the occasion of the road safety awareness week that runs from January 11 to 17 and promotes safe road travel.
MEMS, which operates a fleet of 937 ambulances across the state, is just one of several such options used by local residents during the time of road emergencies. Many hospitals, NGOs, and other organisations also offer ambulance services, and as such the total number of road emergencies in the state could be substantially higher than those represented in the MEMS data.
Incidentally, road accidents within the city limits of Pune account for an average of over 400 deaths every year. About half of them are two-wheeler riders. The average number of road accidents in city limits every year, which includes fatal, serious and minor registered accidents, is over 1,800.
MEMS, operational since 2014, had attended to a total of 74,118 accidental emergencies throughout the state in 2017, according to the data. Solapur (3,336 cases), Satara (3,383), Nagpur (3,267) and Kolhapur (3,072) were the other districts with more than 3,000 cases of road emergencies in 2017. Mumbai registered a relatively lower 1,574 cases.
Hanmantrao Gaikwad, chairman and managing director of BVG India that operates MEMS, said most of the emergencies were recorded during the 4 pm – 8 pm time slot, followed by the 8 pm – 12 midnight slot. Together, this eight-hour period accounted for more than 50 per cent of all reported emergencies. The most likely causes for road accidents were high density of traffic, and drunk driving, he said.
Gaikwad said the service caters to at least one case of mass casualty per day involving vehicles, most of them on the highways, making it extremely important for drivers and passengers to take ample precautions on the road. “With increase in number of young drivers and newer cars on the roads, road safety has emerged as one of the major concerns in the state. The Ministry of Transport, NHAI and other related departments are undertaking many initiatives like building newer roads, widening highways, and barricading and illuminating roads… to make travel safe for citizens. Accidents and deaths can be avoided if pedestrians and drivers inculcate road safety measures,” he said in a statement.