BENGALURU: Even as the city comes to terms with the gruesome accident which claimed the life of a teenager on Sunday on the Nayandahalli Road, a horrific statistic must be taken note of.
There have been as many as 20 deaths due to accidents involving BMTC buses in a span of four months this year.
In all, since January, there have been 81 accidents registered against BMTC buses. Of these, 20 were fatal. A look into the data available with the traffic police shows that the number of deaths have been high in the previous years too. In 2015, 50 people were killed whereas in 2014, 67 people died due to accidents with BMTC buses.
Whose fault is it?
While not all accidents are the fault of the drivers, in a majority of the cases it is due to negligence of the drivers, an official in the traffic police division told Express. “There might be few instances where the public is at fault but usually it is due to the driver’s negligence. They are either driving rash or would have failed to notice the other vehicle,” he said.
On the other hand, traffic experts opined that it was a systemic failure in managing traffic in the city which was leading to these many accidents involving BMTC. Traffic expert M N Sreehari sought to look at this from a larger perspective of traffic on city’s roads. At a time when the speed of buses had come down to 4.5 km per hour in crucial places like the Outer Ring Road, he felt that one had to go beyond attribution to rash and negligent driving and look at why that trend was in place.
He opined that blaming the drivers alone would not solve the problem. “There is so much stress on the drivers. The trip time given to them has not been revised in a long time. It does not take into account today’s traffic conditions or the plight of roads. More over, the location of bus stops is not scientifically planned. The public too tends to stand in the middle of the road.”
He says there is a need to put the onus on those laying the roads and where the situation demanded, on the public as well for flouting traffic rules.
Even as the number of accidents persist, holding negligent drivers accountable is still a grey area. As per the norms, immediately after an accident, the driver is suspended. If it is a fatal one, the driver is suspended for six months, after which period they usually get back to work, pending a Court case.