Drunk, tired truck drivers involved in accidents

NEW DELHI: Every year, trucks are involved in over 3,000 accidents on Delhi roads and claim over 800 lives.

They alone are responsible for 50 per cent of lives lost in road accidents annually. The Supreme Court — in its December 6, 2001, order — had observed that trucks not headed for Delhi should not be allowed to enter the city. Agrees Satish Golchha, deputy commissioner of police (traffic). ‘‘The movement of these trucks should be streamlined to reduce traffic congestion in the city,’’ he said. About 60,000 trucks, which enter the city every day, are responsible for half the total number of accident victims here. ‘‘Most of the hit-and-run cases, especially at night, are due to trucks, since they frequent the roads at that time,’’ said Arun Kampani, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi range), traffic.

And the trucks have maintained their deadly record for the past 12 years. ‘‘Trucks passing through the city at night are usually driven by cleaners or helpers, who are not used to driving on city roads.

So they make mistakes and kill people,’’ says Gautam Chatterjee, who authors road safety literature for the traffic police. Last year, trucks and unknown vehicles (read trucks) killed 870 people and injured 2,414 in the city. They accounted for 3,140 road accidents as well. This year, till May 31, trucks have already caused 1,276 mishaps claiming 362 lives and injuring 1,000. ‘‘These trucks are usually overloaded and drivers have scant regard for traffic rules at night,’’ says Chatterjee. Also, the drivers use different driving rules than the ones used in the city. ‘‘They use their right indicator to convey to a trailing vehicle to overtake. However, the right indicator for us would mean the truck wants to turn right. This leads to confusion that can be dangerous,’’ he said. Also, most of the time, drivers are drunk. ‘‘They are stressed and often under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This causes many of the accidents,’’ said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Maxwell Pereira.

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