105 killed in accidents involving RTC buses in 4 months

Hyderabad: In what is a dubious distinction, TSRTC buses were involved in 273 accidents in the last four months, of which 105 were fatal. Eightyone vehicles were private buses hired by the corporation with drivers employed on a contract basis at the wheel. Incidentally, in most of these mishaps, the drivers had over 10 years of experience.

Speaking on a comparative basis, most of these mishaps occurred on state highways and roads connecting national highways, reliable TSRTC sources said. Most accidents were reported between 1 pm and 4 pm.

Meanwhile, 108 accidents were reported in Hyderabad zone, while 118 accidents occurred in Karimnagar zone. In 40 per cent of the overall accidents during the period under review , the drivers were aged below 35 years. The findings, especially regarding the pattern of accidents, are thoroughly examined by officials in order to initiate appropriate remedial measures.

It was found that following road widenings and expansions, many state and national highways pass through villages, where safety measures for pedestrians, mostly farmers, are few and far in between. Lives of many of them are at risk while crossing roads.

TSRTC officials blamed drivers for 37 per cent of the accidents and the use of mobile phones while driving being the biggest culprit. Recently corporation managing director and vice-chairman V.C. Sajjanar warned of strict action against drivers found guilty of using mobile phones while on duty, sources in the RTC said. The corporation has been organising statewide training programmes and counselling sessions for drivers, it said.

Cases against the errant drivers depend on the sensitivity of the accident. In case of fatalities, the diver is booked under Section 304 (a) of the IPC; it will be section 338 for those causing grievous injuries to the victims while for those resulting in minor injuries, cases are booked under section 337 of IPC. In instances where property is damaged the drivers are booked under section 279, explained police officer L. Sanjeev Reddy. He added that if the driver is guilty of drunk driving (DD), the individual is booked under the Drunken Driving Act.

Moreover, based on police reports, the management orders departmental inquiry by its own investigation officers. Depending on the findings and gravity of the situation, the driver is suspended, terminated, issued a memo or transferred or straightaway terminated from service, a senior police officer said.

“We cannot completely blame the drivers for all accidents. In over 40 per cent of cases the factors leading to mishaps include erratic road-crossers, stray animals and dangerous riding by bikers,” Sajjanar said.

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