Deadly roads, delay in tougher penalties disappointment for victims

India has some of the world's deadliest roads, with more than 200,000 fatalities annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The deaths are blamed on weak laws, which are routinely flouted by drivers and poorly enforced, often by corrupt officials.
In-this-photograph-taken-on-February-22-2015-Anita-Rajput-gestures-as-she-tells-relatives-stories-of-her-18-year-old-son-Mukul-Rajput-after-his-death-in-a-road-accident-in-New-Delhi-AFP-Photo
In-this-photograph-taken-on-February-22-2015-Anita-Rajput-gestures-as-she-tells-relatives-stories-of-her-18-year-old-son-Mukul-Rajput-after-his-death-in-a-road-accident-in-New-Delhi-AFP-Photo
Updated on Mar 26, 2015 12:42 PM IST
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AFP | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

One month after Anita Rajput's son was crushed to death by two buses as he walked home in Delhi, the distraught mother cannot bear to send her remaining child back to school.

"Has anything changed? How can I let him out on the road? What if my younger son meets a similar fate," Rajput said, tears welling in her eyes.

India has some of the world's deadliest roads, with more than 200,000 fatalities annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The deaths are blamed on weak laws, which are routinely flouted by drivers and poorly enforced, often by corrupt officials.

After years of inaction, the government is proposing tougher penalties, including heftier fines for speeding and reckless drivers -- currently as low as $2 -- in a bid to bring down the shockingly high toll.

Victims and road safety experts have been anxiously watching parliament, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has promised to introduce a bill -- overhauling a law dating back to the British colonial period.

But when Parliament rose this month it delayed the bill until late April, a setback victims described as a "big disappointment for the entire country" although they remain hopeful.

In this photograph taken on February 22, 2015, Anita Rajput poses with the school identity card of her 18-year-old son Mukul Rajput, after his death in a road accident in New Delhi. AFP Photo
In this photograph taken on February 22, 2015, Anita Rajput poses with the school identity card of her 18-year-old son Mukul Rajput, after his death in a road accident in New Delhi. AFP Photo
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