Forty-three-year-old Sukhbeer Singh Channa was 16 when he started driving to help his father feed a family of nine. Since then, long hours on the highway, shuttling between states to deliver consignments and speeding through to meet deadlines has become a part of his life.
“Given a choice, I would have left this job long back. The constant pressure under which we work is maddening at times. There are times when I have been forced to drive continuously for as long as sixteen hours. How do you expect a human being to be in his senses when he is on the road for such a long time?” said Channa.
He also said that for a few quick bucks, many drivers like him also take up extra shifts where they have to deliver consignments on unreasonable deadlines.
“The owners expect us to deliver the load quickly. Even if I rocket my truck from Jaipur to Delhi there is no way I will be able to reach Delhi in two hours. But these are the kind of things we are expected to do,” he said.
He also said that night is the only time where they can speed their trucks to meet delivery schedules. The roads are fairly empty and the presence of traffic officials on the roads negligible.
The drivers, thus, take the liberty of stepping on the pedal as much as they can, mindless of the other road users.