States yet to have scheme to probe fatal road crashes even after 3 decades | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The motor vehicle law enacted in 1988 specified that every state government must investigate and analyse causes of fatal road crashes. But even after three decades, only a couple of states have notified them despite India losing at least 400 lives every day in road crashes.
The only exception was 2020 when the number of deaths fell due to less traffic following lockdown during the Covid pandemic.
The recent incident of a Jharkhand judge being mowed down by an auto rickshaw, which was initially recorded as an “accident” and later as murder prompting a probe to establish the real motive, has rekindled hopes among road safety experts who have been demanding detailed investigation of every fatal road crash in the country.
“As as part of criminal investigations, accident analysis by forensic or automobile experts is happening in select cases in order to derive a relationship between the accused and victim. But unfortunately what is desirable in crash investigation, independent of accused and victim concepts, under the provisions of Section 135 of motor vehicle law is not happening across the country,” said Navdeep Asija, traffic advisor to the Punjab government and a strong advocate for such investigations.
Official data on road crashes of 2016 to 2019 show that the number of fatal road crashes has been in the range of 1.35 lakh to 1.38 lakh per year.
Only a couple of states such as Haryana and Punjab have notified the scheme on the directions of the Supreme Court. “It is much needed and in order to bring uniformity across the country, the road transport ministry should take it up,” he added.
Former DGP of Road Safety Authority T Krishna Prasad said every state police registers each fatal road crash under Section-304A of the IPC, which is death caused due to rash or negligent act. “But what we need is to investigate every fatal road crash case as we do in case of every murder. We need to find the exact reason of a crash like we do to establish the intent behind any murder,” he added.
Another road safety expert, Rohit Baluja, who runs College for Traffic Management, has also been raising the demand for mandatory and scientific crash investigation to find the exact cause of such fatal crashes. “Until you do the diagnostics properly, you can’t treat the disease. So, we are currently only treating the symptoms,” he added.

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