India

Karnataka Deputy CM says 'good roads cause accidents', draws flak

Karnataka Deputy CM says 'good roads cause accidents', draws flak

In a remark that flies in the face of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s statement that the new traffic fines will help bring down road accidents, one of the three Karnataka deputy chief ministers has said he is not in favour of the high fines, and blamed “good roads” for major accidents.

“Major accidents happen due to good roads where people drive at the speed of 120 to 160 kmph. Majority of accidents occur on highways. I don’t support levying high fines. The state cabinet will decide on the revision of fines and will notify the public and traffic department soon,” Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol said on Wednesday.

The minister’s comment has not gone down well with many, with experts and citizens questioning his logic.

“One should not forget how former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee’s move to develop highways along the Golden Quadrilateral developed road transport infrastructure in our country. Rather than blaming the good condition of roads, we need to hold drivers responsible for violating rules on highways,” urban transport expert Sanjeev Dyamannavar told Indianexpress.com.

Karnataka Deputy CM on Motor Vehicles Act: Don't support levying high fines, will take decision during cabinet meeting

Dyamannavar added that driving culture in India as a whole needs to change. “The rich and influential will easily get away even if the fines are steep. The best way to instil fear among violators is to ensure they pay the price beyond fines — by suspending driving licences, making them teach traffic rules to school students, asking them to assist traffic officials on their job, and thereby imbibing a culture of safe driving in violators’ minds, even if they are a minister’s close acquaintance,” Dyamannavar said.

Karjol’s remarks attracted flak on social media too.

“Better still, stop repairing all roads, even stop making new roads. No good roads will eventually lead to no accidents,” a person wrote on Twitter.

Another person tweeted, “Let’s all just sit at home for a month so there will be zero accidents.”

Meanwhile, the Bengaluru City Traffic Police (BTP) continued to book violators as per the revised traffic fines on Thursday. According to the BTP, fines amounting to Rs 20.55 lakh were collected from the city between 10 am on September 11 to the same time on September 12. As many as 6,350 cases were filed in the 24-hour timeframe.

“We will continue to book violations as per the revised fine list notified by the Centre under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act (2019) until a new notification by the Karnataka government reaches us,” an officer from the BTP confirmed.