Truck drivers across India have been engaged in widespread protests against a new law that imposes stricter penalties for drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents. The contentious law has sparked dissent and disruption across the country’s road transport sector.
The new hit-and-run law, introduced as part of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita criminal code that will replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), significantly raises the penalties for drivers who flee after causing an accident. Those convicted under the law face up to 10 years in jail and fines of ₹7 lakh.
Why the Government Introduced the New Law ?
The Indian government brought in the harsh new law in an attempt to clamp down on the epidemic of fatal hit-and-run cases on the country’s roads. According to statistics, around 50,000 people die in hit-and-run crashes annually in India. The law aims to improve accountability among drivers and serves as a long-overdue update to the legal framework around the consequences of such accidents.
However, truckers believe the law is unfairly weighted against drivers of large vehicles like trucks, who they say will face disproportionately severe punishments compared to regular motorists. They also argue it fails to account for potential circumstances where a driver may not be wholly responsible for an accident
Why Drivers Are Protesting the New Hit-and-Run Law ?
The truck drivers are voicing dissent against the hit-and-run provisions in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, a new criminal code set to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC).Under the new law, penalties for fleeing the scene after a hit-and-run accident have been drastically increased. Drivers now face up to 10 years in jail and fines of ₹7 lakh if convicted.
Truckers believe the harsh new punishments unfairly target larger vehicles like trucks, and fail to account for potential circumstances where a driver might not be wholly culpable for an incident.
Faced with the prospect of such severe sanctions under the amended hit-and-run clauses, truck drivers across India have taken to the streets in protest. They argue their concerns have not been adequately heard, and are demanding a roll-back of the law until wider consultations can take place.
The truckers’ widespread public dissent aims to highlight what they see as the one-sided nature of the new hit-and-run legislation before it comes into force.
We can see how Local drivers in all over India are angrily Protesting against the Goverment
Drivers’ Demands :
In their nationwide protests, truckers called for an immediate roll-back of the law until wider consultations can be held. They want more inclusive decision-making around such legislation, arguing their concerns were not properly heard before the law’s introduction.
The drivers also demanded assurances they will not encounter unjust treatment or mob violence as a result of the harsh 10-year penalties, which they fear could compel some to flee accident scenes to avoid reprisals.
Reporting a Hit-and-Run :
To lodge a hit-and-run complaint under the new Indian law, the driver who was struck should obtain the registration number of the fleeing vehicle if possible. They must file a report with the police and provide their police complaint number. Any eyewitness contact information, location and time details, photographs, and insurance particulars will aid investigation.
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Effects on Transportation :
The truckers’ nationwide strike caused severe fuel shortages and disrupted road transport across multiple Indian states. With the majority of trucks off the road, losses ran into millions daily. Supplies of fuel and essential commodities like fruit and vegetables were seriously impacted.
Government Response :
Faced with mounting unrest and pressure from the truckers’ unions, the Indian government has conceded to put the new law on hold. They have agreed to restart discussions with truckers’ representatives before considering any move to implement the hit-and-run penalties. This provisional rollback has defused tensions amongst protesting drivers for now.
The controversial new hit-and-run legislation in India has sparked widespread trucker protests over perceived bias and excessive punishments. But an indefinite deferral of the law’s activation has temporarily alleviated their concerns.