Two road-rage incidents on two consecutive days only serve to show that neither the law-enforcing agencies nor society is sufficiently educated on public behaviour or civic life.
What happened on Monday, when a traffic policeman threw a stone at a woman for a minor transgression, was almost as horrifying as the previous day’s event in which a life was lost due to mindless violence.
On Sunday, a biker whose vehicle was grazed by a DTC bus assaulted the driver so brutally that he died even before he could be taken to hospital. This was the fourth road rage case in Delhi in 10 days. And if one counts the misdemeanour of the traffic policeman, this is the fifth in 11 days.
What is alarming is that most of these incidents have taken place in broad daylight. The driver was beaten to death even as several people watched. The reason why most people don’t come forward to either report such cases or as witnesses is the thought of endless harassment by the police once they do so.
It was to remedy this that the Good Samaritan Act that is yet to be introduced in Parliament was framed. It provides for protection from legal hassles for those who help victims. It enjoins on doctors to provide immediate help for trauma victims, proposes a hassle-free investigation and suggests mechanisms to prevent any coercion by the law-enforcers. At present, hit and run victim can expect little help from passersby who fear getting entangled with the law.
Of course, there has to be a serious effort made to enforce safe driving, strict observance of pedestrian rights and checks on those handling public transport.
Traffic violations must be strictly prosecuted and repeat offenders must be kept off the roads. If the road rules are observed, chances of vehicles grazing against others, as happened in the recent Delhi case, can be avoided. In all our metros, people seem to take pride in breaking all laws governing safety on the roads. They push others out of their lanes, jump traffic lights and break the speed limit if they can. As more cars and other vehicles come onto the roads, adherence to road rules could mean the difference between life and death.