The Death Running Onroad…

The National Crime Records Bureau’s report on Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2015 has been oft quoted by critics. The report suggests that about 1.5 per cent of all the total 4.64 lakh road accidents were caused by drunken driving or driving under influence of drug or alcohol, resulting in injuries to 6,295 people.

The offence, however, according to the report, resulted in 2,988 deaths. It’s more than 8 deaths every day — accounting for just over 2 per cent of all fatalities in road accidents.

Numbers would suggest drunken driving is only a drop in the macabre ocean of road accidents. Drunken driving had resulted in 1.48 lakh deaths. In 2015, though the Supreme Court called it one the major causes of road accidents.

In the present case, as per records, on January 26 this year, Ramesh drove a car in a drunk state, crossed the yellow line and hit two motorcycles and an autorickshaw coming in the opposite direction. He dashed against the footpath killing one person and injuring others

Now the Tamil Nadu government permitting pubs in five stars hotels to open round the clock; many fears that this may increase the rate of fatal cases of drinking and driving.

It has been quite the bottled up provision in the law. Magistrates in Chennai have now started using the option in the Motor Vehicles Act to sentence those found guilty of drunken driving to simple imprisonment. This is instead of merely imposing a fine. In the last few weeks, 5 youngsters have been sent to jail for 15 days. They were accused for driving after downing one too many.

The Judicial Sword – A means to cut down the Roots of Menace..

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This Court is conscious of the fact that simple imprisonment for a period of ten days would result in lot of serious complications not only on the petitioner but also on the family members. But, this Court has to balance the rights of the petitioner as guaranteed under the Constitution of India vis–vis the interest of the public at large for the reason that while driving in a drunken condition, the petitioner not only causes harm to himself but endangers the rights of the other public, who are the pedestrians and etc. Sometimes it may lead to serious causalities resulting in death also.

As such, when the petitioner has not learnt from his earlier mistake and had committed a similar offence for the second time within two years, it cannot be taken lightly and at the same time he should be conscious of the commission of offence once again and should not repeat it in future.

The drunken driving has become a menace for our society. In many cases it is leading to many casualties. The innocent pedestrians are losing their lives and families are being shattered. The punishment to be awarded to a drunken driver at least should act as a deterrent for others, who are resorting to such type of violations.

Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

Driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs. Whoever, while driving, or attempting to drive, a motor vehicle:

  • (a) has, in his blood, alcohol exceeding 30 mg. per 100 ml. of blood detected in a test by a breath analyser.
  • (b) is under this influence of a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of exercising proper control over the vehicle, shall be punishable for the first offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both; and for a second or subsequent offence, if committed within three years of the commission of the previous similar offence, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to three thousand rupees, or with both. Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, the drug or drugs specified by the Central Government in this behalf, by notification in the Official Gazette, shall be deemed to render a person incapable of exercising proper control over a motor vehicle.

 Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 recently. The Amendment bill aims to improve road safety and provides for higher level of fines and penalty for drunk driving. The penalty for drunk driving under the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 has been increased from Rs.2000 to Rs.10,000.

For Insurance Claims

The new rules say the liability of third party insurer for road accidents is unlimited. According to a report of PRS India legislative, the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of motor accident has been capped at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at Rs 5 lakh in case of grievous injury.

The bill provides for a ‘Motor Vehicle Accident Fund’ to provide compulsory insurance cover to road users in India for certain types of accidents.

Also, victims of “hit and run” accident cases will also be compensated from a ‘Solatium Fund’. The compensation has been capped at Rs 25,000 in case of deaths and Rs 12,500 in case of grievous injury.

Though this decision may seems like deterrent as for now. But the the society will undersand its for their well being,  in long term.



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