Central Motor Vehicle Rule permitting protrusions up to one metre from the vehicle deleted
Data obtained using the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that protruding rods and stationary are a major cause of road accidents in the country. Activist Piyush Tewari has collected data over the last two years by filing multiple RTI applications across the states and has campaigned for a ban on vehicles carrying rods, pipes or any protruding material beyond the body frame.
With an average of about 15 road accidents an hour, India has the dubious distinction of suffering the highest number of road accidents in the world. Estimates have attributed nearly 10 % of the 1.4 lakh annual road deaths in India to protruding rods and stationary trucks. Using the data obtained through the RTI Act, Tiwari filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court in 2013. Now, the Ministry of Road Transport has deleted the provision in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) that allows protrusions up to one metre from the vehicle.
Available data has revealed that between 2009 and 2011, improperly loaded trucks lead to:
· 1,179 deaths in Rajasthan,
· 856 in Chattisgarh,
· 139 in Delhi, and
· 134 in Himachal Pradesh.
Many states like Punjab and Karnataka are yet to provide the data. Lack of uniformity in reporting and use of improper reporting methods have led to erroneous recording of cause of death.
Nearly 1.1 million have lost their lives in road accidents and 5.3 million have been permanently disabled during the past decade, half of which were bread earners for their family. It has been hotly debated as to whether the truck owner or the driver should be punished for the accident. A barricading system for the stationary trucks which aids in their spotting from a safe distance can lead to prevention of the accidents.