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Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte
And I’m off…
DRUNK DRIVERS

On India’s deadly roads, there are over 20,000 Salman Khans every year

By Devjyot Ghoshal

India’s roads are among the deadliest in the world—and a legion of inebriated drivers make them even worse.

At the moment, the most famous of these drunk motorists is Salman Khan, the Bollywood superstar who has been found guilty of killing a homeless man while driving under the influence of alcohol in 2002.

But Khan is no aberration. Every year in India, there are over 20,000 cases of drivers causing accidents under the influence of alcohol and drugs that results in the deaths of thousands. Here is the data:

Although the ministry of road transport and highways, which compiles the data, combines incidents involving drugs and alcohol, a 2012 study indicated that the latter was most widely prevalent in road accidents.

In all, over 130,000 people were killed and nearly half-a-million injured by 486,476 road accidents in 2013. And although India has only 1% of all the motor vehicles on the planet, it accounts for 15% of the world’s traffic fatalities.

Khan, who was thought to be returning home after a night of drinking, drove his car up a pavement where some homeless labourers were resting early in the morning on Sept. 28, 2002. Although the actor later claimed that his driver was on the wheels when the incident occurred, witnesses testified otherwise.

“Salman was so drunk he fell,” one of the labourers said in his statement. “He stood but he fell again and then he… ran away.”