They speed along on monster-sized vehicles with reckless abandon. Last year, commercial vehicle drivers left as many as 262 people dead on the Capital's streets.
An alarming 12.5% of drivers who mowed down their fellow Delhiites were behind the wheels of overloaded trucks, mini-trucks and delivery vans. More than 15,000 of them enter the city on a daily basis.
"As per our records, commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks, their smaller counterparts and delivery vans, among other such contraptions caused as many as 257 cases of fatal accidents in 2010. The total number of people who lost their lives in these cases is 262," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
What's worse is the fact that more than 32,000 commercial vehicle drivers were booked either for having invalid licences or for not having a driving licence at all.
"As many as 32,650 drivers were slapped with challans because they didn't have licences. In addition, 30,454 people were fined for allowing motorists without valid licenses to drive their vehicles," Garg said.
In the larger scheme of things, the number of cases in which commercial vehicles had been offending parties had gone up from 255 in 2009 to 257 last year, while the number of people killed actually reduced from 271 in 2009 to 262 in 2010.
"This can only be attributed to more police deployment and a daily crack down on such vehicles during night-time checking. In fact, we prosecuted close to seven lakh commercial vehicle drivers for various traffic offences in 2010," Garg added.
As per the records of Delhi Traffic Police, as many as 6,25,873 drivers of commercial vehicles were prosecuted last year.
While light goods vehicles (LGVs) accounted for 4,40,197 prosecutions, action was initiated against as many as 1,51,178 heavy truck vehicles (HTVs). Only 34,498 delivery vans were challaned.
This may be a sizeable figure, but a close analysis of this data in relation to last year's figures reveals that prosecution of errant commercial vehicle drivers has actually gone down by more than two lakh cases.
"We have prosecuted as many as 8,59,447 commercial vehicle drivers in 2009. Less number of prosecutions certainly means less serious enforcement. This can be deduced from the fact that the number of commercial vehicles entering the city every year only increases. So if less people have been prosecuted that means that a sizeable number has escaped penalties," said a senior traffic police officer.
Similarly, the number of people fined for not having proper licences has gone down by more than 20,000 cases.