Road Accidents Are Preventable
“Prevention is better than cure” is a well known quote. Nonetheless only few people observe this in their daily lives. Death rate due to road accidents in India has increased rapidly and the lion’s share of these accidents are caused by the youth. With the tremendous change in lifestyle of our society, parents are providing their children with ammunitions which we call Motor Vehicles even before completing their age to legally ride a motor vehicle in the belief that they are making their children’s life more comfortable and it’s their duty to provide all the facilities to them. Their belief is doing more harm to their children than good. Though these technologies are meant to make our life more convenient, they can prove to be disastrous too if not handled with proper care and caution. Giving Motor Vehicles to under age youth only exaggerates the risk to the lives of others and their own.
Government has deliberately set a legitimate age for procuring license to drive a motor vehicle because people under 18 years of age do not have the sufficient maturity and oft drive under the heat of passion being least bothered about anyone’s life. Under the influence of their age, they are unable to understand the ramifications of rash driving. They are not aware of the fact that there negligent driving can do irrevocable damage to others, their fun of few minutes can prove to be unfortunate to someone else and themselves too. It’s good to learn something but at a proper time and with due care and caution.
Silver screen is one of the most significant factor responsible for framing any opinion among the youth; it has a strong clout over them, actor’s stunts in movies, their style, their actions have such a great impact on their minds that they even overlook the difference in real and reel life. In a moronic attempt to do flippant and fierce acts performed by their super heroes in reel life with full safety and precautionary measures, in real life on actual roads they shove themselves on the lane towards disaster.
The drinking habit among youngsters is on the rise and alcoholism has become a crucial problem today. It has been a major reason behind a large number of road accidents. Youngsters, under peer pressure and in strife of being a “cool,” indulge in such anti-social habits. Under the influence of intoxication they drive maniacally on roads. Consumption of alcohol to celebrate any occasion is common. But when mixed with driving it turns celebration into a misfortune. Alcohol reduces concentration. It decreases reaction time of a human body. Limbs take more to react to the instructions of brain. It hampers vision due to dizziness. Alcohol dampens fear and incite humans to take risks. All these factors while driving cause accidents and many a times it proves fatal.
Provisions Under Motor Vehicles Act 1988
Parliament of India has bestowed on us The Motor Vehicles, Act 1988. It contains complete detailed guidelines on all the aspects of Road Transport. The Act came into force from 1 July 1989. It replaced Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 which earlier replaced the first such enactment Motor Vehicles Act, 1914. The Act provides in detail the legislative provisions regarding licensing of drivers/conductors, registration of motor vehicles, control of motor vehicles through permits, special provisions relating to state transport undertakings, traffic regulation, insurance, liability, offences and penalties, etc.
Section 3 of Motor Vehicles Act provides that “No person shall drive a motor vehicle in any public place unless he holds an effective driving licence issued to him authorising him to drive the vehicle”
Section 4 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 prescribes age limit to drive a vehicle, it clearly provides that “No person under the age of eighteen years shall drive a motor vehicle in any public place”. Which means it is totally illegal to give a vehicle for driving to a minor.
The Motor Vehicles Act also imposes duty upon the owner of vehicles for the strict observance of these rules. Section 5 of the Act provides that “No owner or person in charge of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit any person who does not satisfy the provisions of to drive the vehicle.”
While keeping in mind the safety of people lawmakers has also provided under section 112 of the Motor Vehicles Act that “No person shall drive a motor vehicle or cause or allow a motor vehicle to be driven in any public place at a speed exceeding the maximum speed or below the minimum speed fixed for the vehicle under this Act or by or under any other law for the time being in force”.
Section 129 of Motor Vehicles Act says that “Every person driving or riding (otherwise than in a side car, on a motor cycle of any class or description) shall, while in a public place, wear a protective headgear of such description as may be specified by the State Government by rules made by it in this behalf, and different descriptions of headgears may be specified in such rules in relation to different circumstances or different class or description of motor cycles:”. Which makes it mandatory for everyone to wear a helmet, but still people recklessly drive without wearing helmet. Just for the sake of their style they put their life at stake.
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 not only provide mandatory provisions in order to ensure safe diving of vehicles but it also provides for the duty of the person in case of accident done by them. Section 134 of the act provides that “When any person is injured or any property of a third party is damaged, as a result of an accident in which a motor vehicle is involved, the driver of the vehicle or other person in charge of the vehicle shall--
unless it is not practicable to do so on account of mob fury or any other reason beyond his control, take all reasonable steps to secure medical attention for the injured person, and, if necessary, convey him to the nearest hospital, unless the injured person or his guardian, in case he is a minor, desires otherwise; give on demand by a police officer any information required by him, or, if no police officer is present, report the circumstances of the occurrence, including the circumstances, if any, for not taking reasonable steps to secure medical attention as required under clause (a), at the nearest police station as soon as possible, and in any case within twenty-four hours of the occurrence”.
Under Motor Vehicles act provisions has been made to punish those who drive after drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs. Section 185 of the Act provides that “Whoever, while driving, or attempting to drive, a motor vehicle,--
has, in his blood, alcohol in any quantity, howsoever small the quantity may be, or is under the influence of a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of exercising proper control over the vehicle. shall be punishable for the first offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both; and for a second or subsequent offence, if committed within three years of the commission of the previous similar offence, with imprisonment for term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to three thousand rupees, or with both.”
Even after the provision of such rules and regulations it is very unfortunate that the graph of accident is always on increase.
Role of various Key Players
Role of Traffic police:
It’s next to impossible to imagine busy Indian roads without traffic police. India is a highly populated country and with the rapid increase in population the number of vehicles on the roads is also rising. Managing traffic effectively, particularly during peak hours at crucial junctions and intersection points, is a herculean task. The responsibility for managing the chaos and ensuring smooth flow of traffic and pedestrians falls on the traffic police who are stationed at important junctions. Without them even the relative tranquillity which they restore would not be possible; traffic police play a very important role in India.
Unfortunately corruption has become a major setback in the traffic management system. It has become the mentality that 100 rupee note or even sometimes 50 rupee note can give you the license to drive as you wish on road, it gives you the right to feel like you own the roads. Deep rooted corruption in traffic management system is one of the major reason behind easy violation of traffic rules. Traffic police is an integral part of Traffic management system so if the main pillar will rust with corruption, it will be very difficult to control the rising traffic rules violation leading to road accidents.
Prevailing methods of law enforcement is loosing its relevance. Need of the hour is to recognize and resolve issues pertaining to traffic management before they become unmanageable, and the initiative has to come from the traffic police themselves. They need to be more alert and there should strict observation of traffic rules.
Role of Family/ Parents
Even the families may play a very pivotal role in checking the problem of road accidents as teaching begins at home. They help in molding their children in better way and controlling their temperament. They must make efforts to teach patience and calm temperament as impatience leads to rash acts and such acts are often committed with clouded minds that ultimately cause the chunk of motor-vehicle related mishaps. They may help in controlling the number of road accidents by not allowing their children to drive motor vehicles in their early age.
With the passage of time, influx in the population and advancement of technology have been indirect factors leading to road accidents. One should not forget that these advancements is for our convenience and hence, should be used with proper care and caution. Parents allow their children to use automobiles and motor-cycles at early and immature age which leads to mass and flagrant violation of rules and ultimately, chaos on the roads. Strict enforcement of laws and individual civil and conscientious contribution (by not driving under the influence) by towards road safety can prevent a lot of mishaps on the road and save several innocent lives.
An analysis of law relating to Accident Claims in India:
Scheme of Chapter 10 and 11 of Motor Vehicle Act - Chapter 10 with Sections 140 to 144 provides for interim compensation on ‘No Fault’ Basis. According to this provision Rs. 50,000/- is to be given to the kith and kin of the deceased and Rs. 25,000/- to the grievously injured victim.