Why does Chennai see so many road accidents?

Tweet chat on road safety

Overturned bus on chennai road
Ranked second in terms of fatalities due to road accidents, Chennai saw 5,034 accidents and 998 deaths last year as per the data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Pic: Gavaskar TK/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY:SA 4.0)

Chennai has seen the most number of road accidents in 2021. 5034 road accidents occurred in the city, as per the NCRB’s 2021 report, which was 9.1% of the total number of road accidents in 53 metropolitan cities. 

Moreover, Chennai stands second in road accident fatalities, with 998 deaths, among the metro cities, following Delhi. 

What else does the NCRB data say?

  • Major reasons for road accident deaths include overspeeding and careless driving/overtaking. 
  • More men between the age of 30 and 45 have died in accidents in Chennai, compared to women and trans people. Drivers of two-wheelers suffered more road accidents, including fatalities, than other modes of transport. 
  • The majority of the accidents happen between 6 pm to 9 pm followed by 9 am to 12 pm. 
  • Most of the road accidents happen near recreational areas in Chennai

With private vehicle ownership increasing every day in the city, it is urgent to create and implement strategies to strengthen road safety in Chennai. Recently, the police, experts from IIT Madras, Chennai Corporation and State Highways Department have mapped 104 accident hotspots in the city. 

Read more: Why stepping out could put you at greatest risk in Chennai

To formulate a game plan, we need to know why road accidents are high in Chennai. What kind of short-term measures will help to stem accident numbers? What kind of long-term measures are needed? How do road design and routes play a role? Would stricter penalties and punishments ensure proper adherence to traffic rules? What can Chennai learn from other cities on traffic management and curbing accidents on roads? 

Citizen Matters invites you to join a tweet chat with experts and activists who will answer these questions and beyond.

Follow Citizen Matters on Twitter to participate in the discussion and share your insights.

Date: September 23, 2022

Time: 6 PM – 7 PM

Read more: Why citizens are key to making Chennai roads accident-free

Twitter chat panel
Panel to discuss growing instances of road accidents in Chennai.


Sumana Narayanan, Senior Researcher, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group

Sumana Narayanan works with the road safety advocacy project at CAG. Prior to CAG, Sumana worked with the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), Chennai, where she was involved with research and advocacy on small-scale fisheries – in the marine and inland sectors. She has researched fisheries and aquaculture, with a particular focus on freshwater fisheries, as well as molecular phylogenetics of fungi. She has also worked with Down to Earth magazine, where she analysed and reported on a range of issues including energy, climate change, coastal development, fisheries, waste management, conservation, and ecology. She holds a master’s degree in Ecology from Pondicherry University.

Mahimai Doss, Social Activist

Mahimai Doss is a social activist from Kalpakkam who works on solving rural and urban issues in and around Chennai. He has been highlighting traffic woes and problems with civic amenities in the city.

Pavithra Sriram, Urban Planner

Pavithra is the Co-founder of Design Co: Lab, an Architect, an Urban Planner and a Designer based in Chennai. As a strong advocate for safe and inclusive cities, since 2012, she has focused her career on placemaking, tactical urbanism, street designs, urban ecology and city planning projects. She also authors Being Pedestrian, a blog on narratives of the city from the perspective of a pedestrian.

Dr Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Professor in the Department of Engineering Design, IIT-M

Dr Venkatesh Balasubramanian is a Professor in the Department of Engineering Design at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M).  He is the head of the Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS) at IIT-M. 

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