The driver of the ill-fated goods carrier, which overturned at Halaki Cross in Savadatti taluk of Belgaum district on Saturday, said that the high beam lights of a lorry coming in the opposite direction had blinded him and this had led to the mishap.
Twenty-two people were killed and 32 others injured in the accident.
Sources in the Police Department told Express that driver Gopal Narayanrao Rathod was sleepy and wanted to rest for half-an-hour when the vehicle reached Bagalkot.
He wanted to stop for dinner, but the passengers told him to continue driving. He said the mishap would not have occurred if they had allowed him to stop at Bagalkot to rest for a while.
A child and four others, who were sitting in the driver’s cabin, noticed Rathod dozing off.
They shook him awake thrice, and even gave him water to wash his face.
Saturday’s road accident is the biggest-ever in the district, in terms of casualties, an official source said.
A retired police official said passenger and goods carrier owners have been flouting norms by carrying passengers illegally in goods carriers and overcrowding passenger vehicles to earn more money.
He questioned the role of the police and RTO officials who were not curbing such illegal and dangerous practices.
He sought stringent action against officials who went easy on vehicle owners and operators flouting rules.