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Hit-and-run cases on the rise, Mumbai reports nearly 1 in 5 road deaths by hit-and-run

hit-and-run, accidents, accidents cases in mumbai, mumbai hit and run, road accidentsAccording to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) deaths in hit-and-run cases are on the rise. In Mumbai, of 1,681 road accident deaths between 2017 and 2020, over 17.5% were hit-and-run deaths. This proportion for Maharashtra during the same period was much higher, at over 23%. Experts say that the majority of road accident victims, especially of hit-and-run cases, die because of not getting immediate medical assistance. They could be saved during the golden hour if only accused drivers would not speed away.

Additional director general of police (traffic) BK Upadhyay said, “In such hit and run cases pedestrians and two-wheeler riders are mainly the victims comprise over 30% of road accident losses in the country. Barely five per cent of hit and run cases remain unsolved. In such cases, the accused are booked under the Motor Vehicles Act for not providing medical assistance to the victim, apart from IPC sections where the accused are booked for rash and negligent driving and culpable homicide not amounting to murder.”

IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh said that in cases related to motor accident deaths, there is a complete lack of clarity in the legal definition of what constitutes “accidental death” and what constitutes “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”. While accidental death is a bailable offence, culpable homicide is not. “In many cases, this leads to arm-twisting by the police”.

Nearly 1 in 5 road deaths in Mumbai are caused by a hit-and-run. Every day an average of nearly 33 cases of negligence on the road leading to death were registered in the state from 2017 to 2019. The city had one such case making up its daily average, according to a National Crime Records Bureau report. The report showed that the city and the state contributed 5% of the nationwide hit-and-run incidents at 163 and 2,470 cases, respectively. (The city hit-and-run figure was compared with the ‘national urban hit-and-run figure’, or the total number of such cases in 19 cities.) Experts said that a study by the ministry of road transport showed the conviction rate was poor and was hampered by a lack of eyewitnesses in most road accidents.

Bad roads and rash drivers were the common reasons for accidents. Among states, Uttar Pradesh topped with 54,373 cases of death due to negligence that resulted in 60,936 fatalities from 2017, Mumbai is 5th, the state is 3rd in cases of negligence causing road death. Cases registered under Section 304(A) (causing death due to negligence) of the IPC during the period numbered 37,517 in Tamil Nadu, with these incidents resulting in 41,193 deaths.

Next came the state at 35,992 cases and 38,590 deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 32,305 cases and 35,787 deaths. Karnataka was fifth at 30,024 cases and 37,949 deaths. Among cities, Delhi topped with 4,075 cases and 4,493 deaths from 2017 to 2019, followed by Chennai at 3,808 and 3,950, Bengaluru at 2,055 and 2,142, Jaipur at 1,887 and 1,955, and the city at fifth place at 1,232 cases and 1,345 deaths. According to the report by the ministry of road transport and Highway, close to 5 lakh road accidents occurred across the country annually, killing at least 1.4 lakh people.

On average 50,000 of the accidents were hit-and-run cases, killing at least 18,000 people annually. In 79% of all accidents, the driver was found to be at fault, though that did not mean the person behind the wheel was punished for the crime. Conviction rates for urban road accidents typically hover between 5% and 10%. In hit-and-run cases, lack of eyewitnesses and surveillance typically leads to a “blind” close of the case if the victim does not note the licence plate number of the vehicle.


 

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