On September 2, Manish Yadav (name changed) was driving past Kalanagar junction in Bandra (East) when he tried to prevent a biker from overtaking his car. The biker, with a girl riding pillion, grazed the car. Yadav moved his car to the left to prevent the biker from moving ahead.
This angered the biker so much that he began to chase the car. He also called up two of his friends. By the time they reached Andheri, the biker’s friends had joined him and the three of them started kicking the car. When Yadav got down to confront them, they punched him. He fell to the ground, and by the time he was helped to his feet by some onlookers, the trio had disappeared. Yadav, whose jaw was broken in the incident, filed a police complaint against ‘unidentified persons’. No arrests have been made, as he could not note down the registration number of the bike.
The never-ending traffic jams have left Mumbai’s motorists in a state of rage. While no data is available on the number of road rage cases in the city, police officers that Hindustan Times spoke to are convinced that tiffs and brawls among motorists are increasing by the day. Serious cases are registered with the police, many minor ones go unreported as the matter is resolved between the two parties.
Another reason why it becomes impossible to ascertain even an approximate count of road rage cases is that they are usually registered as assault cases under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code, as there is no provision in the IPC to register them as road rage cases.
Nandkumar Chougule, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) said, "Motorists become extremely impatient during traffic jams, and look for a reason to vent their anger. In most cases it goes beyond a verbal feud. However, road rage cases are usually treated as non-cognisable offences. We have sent a proposal that such cases need to be dealt with as serious crimes."
Subash Chettiar, 28, lives in Chembur, while his office is located in Nariman Point. “I own a car and prefer driving to work. But now I plan to opt for trains. It takes me over two hours to reach my office due to traffic jams along the route. I reach office late practically every day. It is so frustrating that sometimes I feel like abandoning my car in the traffic and getting to the nearest railway station.”
A traffic police constable attached with the Andheri traffic division, who did not wish to be named, told HT, “During peak hours the traffic in Andheri is unbearable. Almost every day there are brawls among the motorists even if a vehicle just brushes past them. The worst offenders are motorcyclists, who try to squeeze through the narrowest spaces possible. If their vehicle even touches another vehicle, it usually leads to fisticuffs.”
What is road rage?
Road rage is a colloquial term used to describe brawls, altercations and fights that occur among motorists.
Depending on the seriousness of the situation the erring party is slapped with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Most cases are registered under section 323 (assault).
If the party assaulted is a public servant then the accused is charged under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC.