Road accident deaths: Here’s what the government must do to end menace of rash driving

By: | Published: December 10, 2016 6:28 AM

Given India has the dubious record of the highest number of road accident deaths—over 400 deaths every day—the Supreme Court has done well to reiterate the need to increase the quantum of punishment for cases of rash and negligent driving.

Supreme Court (PTI)Supreme Court (PTI)

Given India has the dubious record of the highest number of road accident deaths—over 400 deaths every day—the Supreme Court has done well to reiterate the need to increase the quantum of punishment for cases of rash and negligent driving. Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code covers these offences, but its enforcement has remained a cause for concern. Moreover, a jail term of two years under the Act is too less a price for the loss of life.

According to The Times of India, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy on Tuesday, asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his opinion on increasing the punishment for reckless, drunken and rash driving. While this is not the first time that the Court has expressed concern over the law, there has been little action from the government-side, except for a change in the Motor Vehicles

Act which only stipulates more fines for rash driving. India would do well to follow the example of countries like the UK, where causing death due to reckless driving is punishable by upto 14 years of imprisonment, or of Scotland, where the government has ensured fewer deaths by lowering the permissible limit of alcohol in the driver’s blood. While there is no doubt that there is a need for strict laws, with case-studies from the US showing that effective implementation yields better results, India would do well to improve implementation and leave little room for people to skirt the law

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