EditorialSanctum

Shocking: 7 hit-and-run accidents every hour

More than 20,000 people lost their lives in hit-and-run cases nationwide in 2015, according to government data, and the reluctance of witnesses to be involved because of legal entanglements illustrates the need for clear laws to support “good samaritans”, as the state describes them.

Hit-and-run cases accounted for 11.4 per cent of total accidents in 2015, an increase from 10.9 per cent in 2014, according to road transport ministry data.

While 57 accidents were reported and 17 lives lost per hour in 2015, more than 54 per cent killed were between 15 and 35 years old, in the prime of youth.

On January 21, 2016, the government issued standard operating procedures to prevent unjust examination of eyewitnesses to road accidents, India’s transport minister said, replying to a question by G. Hari, a Lok Sabha member Tamil Nadu, on February 25, 2016.

The standard procedures call for non-coercive, non-discriminatory, and time-bound inquiry into an accident — and the examinee cannot be compelled to disclose personal information.

The guidelines also state that the samaritan does not have to pay for treatment unless he/she is related to the injured person.

The central government intends to convert 52,000 km of state highways into national highways. The upgrade — without instituting adequate safety measures on and along the national highways — would be undesirable because the accidents and deaths in 2015 on national highways exceeded those on the state highways in 2014, by 4.5 and six percentage points.

Two-wheelers were involved in more fatal accidents (26 per cent) than other vehicles; those riding two-wheelers accounted for 25.2 per cent of all deaths on the road.

Uttar Pradesh (as on June 23, 2016) became the latest state to make wearing of helmets for pillions mandatory.

Controlled areas (manned by policemen or with machines installed for regulating traffic movement) witness fewer accidents (32 per cent of the total) as compared to uncontrolled environments.

More than 20 per cent of accidents were caused by drivers either on learner’s licence or without licence, suggesting the need for remedial classes for those who cause accidents while on such licences.

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