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Indian Law Road Accidents Essay

Causes of Road Accidents

Road accident is most unwanted thing to happen to a road user, though they happen quite often. The most unfortunate thing is that we don't learn from our mistakes on road. Most of the road users are quite well aware of the general rules and safety measures while using roads but it is only the laxity on part of road users, which cause accidents and crashes. Main cause of accidents and crashes are due to human errors. We are elaborating some of the common behaviour of humans which results in accident.

1.Over Speeding
2.Drunken Driving
3.Distractions to Driver
4.Red Light Jumping
5.Avoiding Safety Gears like Seat belts and Helmets
6.Non-adherence to lane driving and overtaking in a wrong manner

Various national and international researches have found these as most common behavior of Road drivers, which leads to accidents.


Over Speeding:

Most of the fatal accidents occur due to over speeding. It is a natural psyche of humans to excel. If given a chance man is sure to achieve infinity in speed. But when we are sharing the road with other users we will always remain behind some or other vehicle. Increase in speed multiplies the risk of accident and severity of injury during accident. Faster vehicles are more prone to accident than the slower one and the severity of accident will also be more in case of faster the severity of accident will also be more in case of faster vehicles. Higher the speed, greater the risk. At high speed the vehicle needs greater distance to stop i.e. braking distance. A slower vehicle comes to halt immediately while faster one takes long way to stop and also skids a long distance due to law of notion. A vehicle moving on high speed will have greater impact during the crash and hence will cause more injuries. The ability to judge the forthcoming events also gets reduced while driving at faster speed which causes error in judgment and finally a crash.


Drunken Driving:

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. For every increase of 0.05 blood alcohol concentration, the risk of accident doubles. Apart from alcohol many drugs, medicines also affect the skills and concentration necessary for driving. First of all, we recommend not to consume alcohol. But if you feel your merrymaking is not complete without booze, do not drive under the influence of alcohol. Ask a teetotaler friend to drop you home.



Distraction to Driver:

Though distraction while driving could be minor but it can cause major accidents.

Distractions could be outside or inside the vehicle. The major distraction now a days is talking on mobile phone while driving. Act of talking on phone occupies major portion of brain and the smaller part handles the driving skills. This division of brain hampers reaction time and ability of judgement. This becomes one of the reasons of crashes. One should not attend to telephone calls while driving. If the call is urgent one should pull out beside the road and attend the call. Some of the distractions on road are:

1.Adjusting mirrors while driving
2.Stereo/Radio in vehicle
3.Animals on the road
4.Banners and billboards.

The driver should not be distracted due to these things and reduce speed to remain safe during diversions and other kind of outside distractions.


Red Light jumping:

It is a common sight at road intersections that vehicles cross without caring for the light. The main motive behind Red light jumping is saving time. The common conception is that stopping at red signal is wastage of time and fuel. Studies have shown that traffic signals followed properly by all drivers saves time and commuters reach destination safely and timely. A red light jumper not only jeopardizes his life but also the safety of other road users. This act by one driver incites other driver to attempt it and finally causes chaos at crossing. This chaos at intersection is the main cause of traffic jams. Eventually everybody gets late to their destinations. It has also been seen that the red light jumper crosses the intersection with greater speed to avoid crash and challan but it hampers his ability to judge the ongoing traffic and quite often crashes.



Avoiding Safety Gears like seat belts and helmets:

Use of seat belt in four-wheeler is now mandatory and not wearing seat belt invites penalty, same in the case of helmets for two wheeler drivers. Wearing seat belts and helmet has been brought under law after proven studies that these two things reduce the severity of injury during accidents. Wearing seat belts and helmets doubles the chances of survival in a serious accident. Safety Gears keep you intact and safe in case of accidents. Two wheeler deaths have been drastically reduced after use of helmet has been made mandatory. One should use safety gears of prescribed standard and tie them properly for optimum safety.

Detrimental effects of traffic on environment

1. Safety 2. Noise 3. Land Consumption 4. Air Pollution 5. Degrading the Aesthetics


How different factors of Roads contribute in Accidents:

Drivers: Over-speeding, rash driving, violation of rules, failure to understand signs, fatigue, alcohol.
Pedestrian: Carelessness, illiteracy, crossing at wrong places moving on carriageway, Jaywalkers.
Passengers: Projecting their body outside vehicle, by talking to drivers, alighting and boarding vehicle from wrong side travelling on footboards, catching a running bus etc.
Vehicles: Failure of brakes or steering, tyre burst, insufficient headlights, overloading, projecting loads.
Road Conditions: Potholes, damaged road, eroded road merging of rural roads with highways, diversions, illegal speed breakers.
Weather conditions: Fog, snow, heavy rainfall, wind storms, hail storms.

Preventive measures for accidents:

  1. Education and awareness about road safety
  2. Strict Enforcement of Law
  3. Engineering:
    (a) Vehicle design (b) Road infrastructure

Direct Consequences of Accidents:

1 Fatality (Death) 2. Injury 3. Property Damage

 

Courtesy:- Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India

In this blog post, Sreeraj K.V., a student of Government Law College, Ernakulam, Kerala writes about road accidents and legal recourse to be taken once such accidents take place. This blog post includes the current status of India in connection with road accidents, provisions of the MV Act and also certain procedures that must be fulfilled by the parties immediately after an accident.

 

Introduction

Road accidents have turned out to be a common issue in India in the recent times. India has seen the largest number of road accidents in the past few years. The main reason behind this phenomenon is that we show our decency in the society but not on the road. Rash and negligent driving, avoiding proper signals, drinking and drive, etc. lead to most of the accidents in India. Reports states that there is one death in every four minutes due to road accidents in India and 25% of such accidents have occurred to persons driving two-wheeler. This is a shocking report because it indicates how negligently we are behaving on roads. The report also states that Delhi is in the top position on the highest number of road accidents in India.[1]

While looking into to the laws and statutes which ensure road safety as well as protection for the victims of road accidents, these laws include Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and certain provisions of criminal law in the case of the death of the victim of road accidents. The Motor Vehicles Act prescribes certain important provisions which every driver should follow. It includes:

  • Section 112: Prescribes the maximum limit at which each class of vehicle can be driven.
  • Section 113: A person should not drive a vehicle exceeding the permitted weight it can carry.
  • Section 129: A person driving a motorcycle shall wear a helmet.
  • Section 134: Duty of a person in case of an accident and injury to a person including securing medical attention to the injured person and reporting to a police officer or at the nearest police station within 24 hours.
  • Section 185: Driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of the drug is prohibited.

There are also provisions under Section 279 of the IPC dealing with a rash and negligent driving as well as Section 304A dealing with causing death by negligence which is read along with Section 279 in the case of death of the victim of an accident. Now, looking into various reasons of accidents, it has to be stated that many of the drivers undertake rash and negligent driving, as well as the reckless drivers of buses and trucks, are in a habit of drinking. Under the influence of drugs, they drive their vehicle at high speeds by negligently avoiding traffic signals and hence causing road accidents and sometimes being victims themselves.[2]

Using mobile phones during the time of driving has also been common now-a-days. Government as well as the Motor Vehicles Department has provided strict regulations that a person must stop his vehicle towards the side of the road for attending a call or calling through mobile phones. But 90% of the drivers attend their phones while driving, mainly the taxi drivers who are in a hurry to pick their customers from different places. Not only them, but also car drivers, mainly elite class people, use their phones during the time of driving as they very well know that money will resolve every issue.

The attitude of the police at the time of an accident is quite surprising. Now-a-days, we see many people riding their bikes at a very high speed as well as in a rash and negligent way through highways as well as on roads where there is a high rush of vehicles. The impact of such accidents will be very high when compared to other accidents. The main factor behind such accidents is that, in such cases, these bike riders will be colliding with a vehicle which will be a bigger one, say a car or any other heavy vehicle. In such instances, no person shall admit that two-wheeler was at fault. Rather, they will blame the driver of the four-wheeler so that the driver of the two-wheeler can secure some compensation. For instance, there was an accident in the Bangalore-Tumkur highway where a person was in his car. A bike had suddenly come and collided with a car from behind. The people nearby as well as the bike rider blamed the car driver and he was forced to give compensation. There is a loophole in the traffic regulation laws which make the person is driving bigger vehicle liable for the accident without even looking into the nature of the accident. This is quite disappointing since the person driving the bigger vehicle does not get a chance to prove that the other person was at fault.

 

Legal recourse

During the time of an accident, the very first thing that a person should do is take the injured person to the hospital and provide him with proper medical attention to save his life. Then he may approach to the nearest police station seeking legal guidance regarding the matter and lodge a complaint against the person who made the fault. In many cases, the complaint will be against the driver of bigger vehicles as it is a commonly seen aspect in India. After lodging the complaint, the case may be registered at the concerned police station under various provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 as well as various other criminal laws if needed. After registering the FIR, the vehicle/vehicles which caused the accident will be taken to the police station for proper fitness certification by the officials of the Motor Vehicles Department. During that time, driver/drivers involved will be called and their statements will be taken, and then the case will be forwarded to the concerned Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT). At that time, proper documents such as Registration Certificate of the vehicle, a copy of the FIR, post-mortem report if any person is dead, proper insurance papers, documents containing the age of the victim, proof of the income of the victim, etc. Have to be submitted. During the time of the trial, both the accused and the victim get a chance to plead and it is up to the insurance company to act accordingly in terms of the compensation to be given to the victim.[3]

Conclusion 

Road accidents are increasing at an alarming rate day by day and the police as well as the judiciary find it very difficult to resolve the cases in a short period. Latest statistics reveal that it takes around three to five years for the court to make a decision in a case concerned. Keeping this in mind, the government and the Judiciary planned to establish some courts dealing with the issues of road accidents. Now, we have Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) all over India to deal with the cases of road accidents. The main goal behind the establishment of MACT was to decide accident related cases in a much faster way as compared to ordinary courts. But still, pending cases are very high as compared to the cases resolved. Certain other machinery such as alternative disputes resolution may also be applied for accident cases where there are fewer amounts of damages which can be resolved by way of compensation.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Retrieved on: http://sites.ndtv.com/roadsafety/important-feature-to-you-in-your-car/

[2] Retrieved on: http://www.shareyouressays.com/3161/552-words-essay-on-a-road-accident-in-india

[3] Retrieved on: http://www.vakilno1.com/legal-faq/mact-motor-accidents-claims-tribunal.html

 

Sylvine

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