Thursday, December 15, 2011


Trucks carrying construction material kill with impunity

On my way to workplace, every single day, I zip across trucks that are not only overloaded but also look like killing machines. Leave aside overtaking these trucks, even following them from a distance seems scary. And more so, as they are loaded with huge rocks that can topple any moment and have the destructive capacity to crush any small car easily. The journey gets even riskier towards evening, when high beam head-lights blind the eyes and it is alcohol that starts driving these death machines.

And mind you, this is the scenario we are talking about in the NCR region, roads are more scary in highways and other remote locations of the country. About 90 per cent of the trucks that enter Delhi are overloaded with hazardous materials like iron rods, boulders, petroleum products and other construction wmaterials. The scenario is similar in other cities too. Apart from taking lives, these heavy trucks reduce the life span of roads from 10 years to 3 and 1/2 years on account of increased pressure of these overloaded trucks and increase pollution due to higher emission levels. Moreover, overloaded trucks have higher risks of succumbing to accidents and overturning, causing traffic jams and fatalities. However, traffic police is helpless to check the menace as no police force in India is equipped with the gear of weighing mechanisms. Even though in 2006, Delhi Government announced the introduction of weighbridges at the entry points of the city but sadly no such devices has yet been implanted! Moreover, the nexus of traffic police and truck drivers in every nook and corner of the country where police take bribes and in return allow them to enter the cities which are otherwise barred by law, has made the streets deadlier in residential areas.

As it often happens, an Ivory Coast national was severely injured when a jutted out iron rod hanging from a moving truck pierced his body in Delhi, a few years back. In a similar incident, two African students in the capital traveling in a car collided with a truck carrying iron pipes that broke through their car’s wind screen and pierced through the right arm of one and legs of the other. In an another case at South Delhi, an auto-driver bumped with iron rod carrying truck that pierced through his right thigh! Even trucks carrying oil or chemical tankers frequently indulge in mishaps. These incidences are increasingly becoming common.

The Indian traffic is regulated by mainly two laws – the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules of 1989. The section 115 of the Motor Vehicles Act empowers the state governments to reign in on vehicles that can adversely affect public safety. In the same light, the Rule 93 of Central Motor Vehicles Act provides details of what governments can do to the transport vehicles carrying dangerous materials. As per the law, Iron rods should not extend beyond 100 cm from the vehicle length and tying a red cloth or lights doesn’t compensate for the same.

The laws are in place but poor enforcement along with corruption make the entire system anything but redundant. The transport companies as well as their clients need to be prosecuted if these laws are broken, so much so that the government should not even allow transport of any construction material in an open truck. Till that happens, these demons would be plying on the roads and killing innocents with impunity.


1 comment:

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