In order to avoid instances when drivers are arrested in road accident cases without adequate investigation, the Mumbai Police are being trained in investigating accidents.
Five batches of five policemen each from Mumbai have been sent to the Institute of Road Traffic Education in Delhi for a week-long training on “crash investigation”, among other aspects.
The project is an initiative of the Bureau of Police Research and Development, wherein policemen from across the country are sent to the institute, a non-profit organisation, for training.
Citing the example of state transport bus driver Rajendra Jalgam, who ran over a brother-sister duo, aged five and eight respectively, killing them near Dadar TT circle in May, a police officer on condition of anonymity said, Jalgam was arrested for causing death due to negligence, because the police simply “followed procedure”.
“The basic lesson at the training programme was to investigate any accident in detail. If there is a fatal accident, instead of just booking the driver, we are told to check everything, from the presence of adequate street lights where the accident took place, to the quality of the road,” said sub-inspector AS Sawant from the Navghar police station, who had participated in one of training programmes.
The rationale is that on most occasions, the driver may not be at fault, and it could have been the poor quality of the road, inadequate lighting, lack of traffic signs or speed breakers that led to the accident.
“In such circumstances, we have been advised to register a case against the authority concerned, such as contractors, as well. If the driver has also been driving negligently, we have been told to register a complaint against both,” added Sawant.
“It makes sense to look at various aspects before investigating a case, but on most occasions it is not possible. Currently with many officers on leave, we manage to have just enough time and resources to solve major crimes, such as murder,” said another police officer, who underwent the training.
“However, next time there is an accident, we till try to investigate it thoroughly and not end our investigation by arresting the driver.”