BENGALURU: While chaotic traffic has always been an issue in the city, Bengalureans now have another issue to add to its list of road related problems - negligent driving. In September 2018, CE reported that traffic congestion had apparently reduced accidents in the city since 2009. CBD areas see an average speed of 15-20 km per hour during peak hours. However, the number of cases under Section 304A (Traffic) under IPC, that is, causing death by negligence, has increased – from 630 in 2017 to 663 this year – despite reduction in vehicular speed in 2018.
V Ravichandar, urban expert, says that negligence of drivers can be curbed through strict penalty. “Suspension of licence is a must because commuters have no fear of the law. With two-wheelers riding on footpaths - it should be treated as a criminal offence as it is intent to murder. Traffic calming measures and priority to pedestrians must be given,” he said. In addition to this, Ravichandar suggests another solution on action against negligent drivers. “There should be a system where citizens can share the vehicle number to insurance companies so that they increase their insurance premium,” he added.
Ashish Verma, mobility expert, had earlier done a study where he found that smaller cities in India, including Bengaluru, are more likely to have weaker traffic law enforcement. “In bigger cities, economic productivity is the major focus of the authorities compared to smaller ones,” he explained, adding that this should be a combined work done by the transport department, BBMP, BDA and traffic police department.
KV Jagadeesh, deputy commissioner of police traffic (east), agreed that 90 per cent of the accidents happen due to negligent driving. “Proper analysis is needed to find out if negligent driving is the main cause for the increase in number of accidents under 304A. The road conditions can also be an added factor,” he said.
Citizens stay indoors for NY
Several citizens decided to stay indoors for New Year celebrations, to avoid being the target of negligent drivers. “This year, I decided to stay at home with my friends since getting a cab is a problem and the traffic is just too much. Also since the mass molestation incident, we did not want to take any chance,” said Sonia Dutta Gupta, a motion graphics artist. Meghana V, a 22-year-old mass communication student, also decided to stay indoors. “Traffic is an annoyance and drivers want to move at a faster pace so they tend to drive rashly. This makes crossing the road a dangerous process,” she said.
What 304A states
Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.