Private buses continue to flout rules
Most of them are owned by politicians: official
Commuting on several pothole-ridden arterial stretches connecting the city with neighbouring districts has become a nightmare for motorists due to reckless driving of private buses. The city traffic police and the Transport Department have been finding it to tough to rein in the errant drivers and ensure smooth flow of traffic.
The Union Territory has a little over 7,000 buses. Of these, over 3,600 are inter-State and intra-State buses. With most buses flouting the rules, there is a serious problem, motorists say. A case in point is the Villupuram Road where private buses stop in the middle of the road to allow people to board and alight. With no service lane, the motorists behind are just forced to halt till the buses move.
Over-speeding and rash driving are behind over 50% of road accidents, followed by negligence of drivers of heavy vehicles, especially private buses. A majority of road accidents have occurred on the arterial Cuddalore Road and Villupuram Road, data shows.
In all these cases, the police registered a case under Section 279 (rash driving) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code. An errant driver booked under these sections can get imprisonment, which may extend up to six months or be fined or imprisoned and fined.
According to an official, though speed limits have been set for national highways passing through the city, private buses continue to flout the rules.
Most private buses are owned by politicians and action is rarely taken against them, he says. Private buses crossing the speed limits and posing a threat to motorcyclists and even cars is a common sight on the Cuddalore Road.
J.M. Khader, a cab driver, said, “A private bus driver followed me for more than 5 km after I refused to budge at a narrow stretch in front of an educational institution on the Cuddalore Road. He wanted me to make way for him to overtake. Angered, he trailed my car barely a few feet behind and kept honking on the road for the next 10 minutes. I stopped the car and the bus crew threatened to run over me. I noted down the number and informed the police.”
Most of the private bus drivers drive the wrong way while overtaking, jump signals and honk incessantly, intimidating other road users. Even when complaints are lodged, revocation of licenses are not done frequently and the drivers continue to indulge in negligent and rash driving, motorists say. Transport Department officials say that cut-throat competition among the crew of private buses to quickly reach their destinations is one of the major reasons for rise in fatal accidents. The department has been conducting day-long drives and booking violators. “We will keep a tab on them in the coming days,” an official said.