In the last four days, three major road accidents have taken place in Hiriyur sector in the district, killing 12 people and injuring 28. In the first incident, six people were killed and 23 sustained injuries when a bus caught fire at Metikurke village on the Pune-Bangalore NH-4 last Wednesday.
On Saturday, three people were killed on the spot and two others sustained injuries when the car they were travelling in rammed into the guide wall and toppled into the service road. This too occurred near Metikurke village.
Later in the day, three people were killed and three injured when a tanker knocked them down in a hit-and-run case near KR Halli on the same highway.
What links the three incidents is drivers’ negligence. Many, including Road Transport Department officials, feel the accidents could have been avoided by alert driving.
Hiriyur rural police inspector Sudarshan told Express, “Careful driving on the Pune-Bangalore NH 4 could have saved lives. Even though the allowed speed limit set by the National Highway Authority of India is 120 kmph, one should think about his or her future before accelerating.”
With the holiday season on, traffic on this already-busy highway has increased. Hence, commuters should think twice before accelerating, he said.
It is said that in Wednesday’s bus burning case, many lives could have been saved if the bus was parked on level ground.
In the car crash, the driver is said to have been driving over the speed limit. In the third case too, the driver of the bus had been negligent, Sudarshan said.
Regional Transport Officer H J Thembad said drivers using the stretch need to show discipline while driving. “This can prevent mishaps to a large extent. Apart from this, service roads should also be used by motorbike riders and other light motor vehicles. Two wheelers and light motor vehicles should not be driven in a criss-cross manner on the road and while overtaking, drivers should be very alert,” he said.
With a major portion of the Hiriyur-Chitradurga stretch of the Pune-Bangalore NH-4 lacking parking space, accidents in this stretch are very common.
To get a hold on this, there is a need to set up lay-bys at regular intervals, Thembad said. The National Highway Authority of India, which is in charge of laying highways, should ensure that sufficient lay-bys are built, he said.
Such lay-bys can be used if a vehicle breaks down or if drivers on long haul journeys need to take rest.