Karnataka has the third highest number of road accident cases across the nation; hit and run cases constitute half of such cases in Bangalore.
Karnataka recorded 34,647 road accident cases in 2021, the third highest across the nation. Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh stood first and second respectively. Raja Laxmi, a 33-year-old dance teacher lost her father in a hit-and-run case last year said that there aren’t enough speed breakers on the road. “My father was going to drop my daughter to her school when an over speeding school bus ran over him. My daughter was injured and my father passed away in the accident.” She added that the driver escaped after the incident. She said she recently discovered from the school authorities that he was caught but is currently out on bail.
Bangalore has witnessed 400 plus fatal road accident cases consecutively for two years in 2022 and 2021, out of which every second case was a fatal hit and run case.
A bleeding man fighting for his life after being run over by a Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus was rushed to a hospital last month by Doraly Gowda an auto driver who has been driving his way through the roads of Bangalore for 12 years now. He said, “Such cases are a common occurrence in the city. I have rushed many people to the hospital in my auto. Some make it, some don’t.”
“I feel scared to cross a road and this fear has only grown since childhood,” said Shabeena, a 39-year-old beauty advisor who has been living in Bengaluru for three decades now. Soumya, a 22-year-old student who drives a two-wheeler to her college said that she fears for her life when she is driving on busy roads in the city.
“Lots of rules and procedures are laid down on how people should drive but people just don’t follow them,” said Dr. Anil Kumar P Grampurohit, police inspector of the Traffic Management Center. Head Constable Aniket Biilagi, Halasur traffic police station said that rash driving was the biggest concern for their department. “During peak office hours, people hurry to get to their offices. Therefore, they do not even stop when they see someone crossing the road. People who cross the road often do not see before crossing,” he said.
Aniket also said that people often fake accidents to claim their insurance money by damaging their own vehicles. “People who come up with fake accidents think they can take us for a ride. They say they do not remember the driver’s vehicle number or sometimes they do not even remember the model of the vehicle. We do not entertain such cases.” He added that his department solved 90 percent of the cases that were reported to them. “We trace the vehicle’s number through CCTV cameras and catch the culprit. It gets a little difficult at night as CCTVs cannot record high-quality footage at that time. But otherwise, CCTV cameras work best,” he added.
According to the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) report, Karnataka recorded the second-highest number of deaths in road accidents due to over speeding, accounting for 10 percent of all such types of cases across India.
Doraly said that potholes were one of the major contributors to such instances. “I rushed a woman to the hospital who was rammed by a BMTC bus a few months back. She suffered a head injury and was bleeding profusely,” he said. He added that he never went back to check if she made it or not. He said that BMTC bus drivers in order to steer away from a pothole often lose control of the bus.
JS Vishvas, a professor in Transport Engineering at People’s Education Society University said that the type of roads played a major role in these accidents. “Proper maintenance of roads can reduce such cases. But if it is filled with potholes, it will definitely trouble the drivers,” she added.
In the past a BMTC official has said, “We have 6,000 buses covering lakhs of kilometers in around 50,000 trips a day. This could be the reason for the higher number of accidents.” He further added that whatever the reason could be, BMTC would train its drivers better to avoid such cases in the future.
“We have 6,000 buses covering lakhs of kilometers in around 50,000 trips a day. This could be the reason for the higher number of accidents.”
Akbar Godiyal, a bus driver for 17 years now, ready to drive to his normal route from Kempegowda Bus station swears on the innocence of his fellow drivers in this matter. “They’ve labelled us Killer BMTC. This moniker is based on hearing the public’s opinion most of the time and no one wants to listen to us. The problem is people often try to overtake from the wrong side and then blame us for driving recklessly.”Many bus drivers agreed to this statement and said people usually didn’t follow the traffic rules in the city.
Prof. Vishvas said people tend to be careless with their own safety on roads. “They don’t follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) like wearing a helmet, giving indicators while turning and over speeding than the prescribed limit.” She concluded by saying that people also needed to take responsibility of their own safety on roads.