CHENNAI: The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), Chennai, has installed auto-retractable rails on sides of some government buses to prevent accident victims from getting stuck under wheels.
According to official data, MTC reports five to six fatal accidents every month and over two-thirds of the victims get run over by the rear wheel of the bus. Most of these victims are school and college students, who travel on bus footboards. Despite several warnings, the practice continues unabated on Chennai MTC buses.
So MTC has decided to reduce life-loss by fitting rails on both sides of buses. These rails, which cost Rs 5,000 each, automatically levitates and lowers when the buses pass over speed breakers or bumps on roads, said a senior MTC official.
But when a passenger slips from the footboard, it prevents them from getting stuck under the rear wheel. Instead, the person will be pushed outside, reducing the risk of death. The passenger will survive, but may suffer injuries, the official added.
Similarly, two-wheeler drivers, if they come skid towards the bus, will be pushed aside by the rails. As a trial run, the rails have been installed in three MTC buses which run along routes 597 (T Nagar-Thiruvallur), 91V (Tambaram-Thiruvanmiyur) and 579A (Tambaram-Walajabad) where accident rate is higher.
Welcoming this, K Anbalagan, a transportation activist said, “Not only precious lives will be saved, but this is a good financial move too.” On average, MTC pays Rs 20 crore as compensation to accident victims, which will be reduced due to this move.
Preventing such deaths will bring a huge sigh of relief for MTC drivers. Their salary hike and promotions are put on hold for three to five years in case they are involved in accidents. Motor Accident Claims Tribunal usually deals only with compensation amount to be paid for victims and seldom discuss the impact accidents have on drivers’ pay rolls, he said.
MTC officials said that the cost-effective approach will be expanded to other routes after studying the feedback for the pilot project.