legal Status on the Pothole Deaths in India, By Kartikeya Hundet, At LexCliq

Background

A pothole is highly visible, on roadway, footpath, and cycleway defects, often these defect leads to injuries and even death to the person using the road. The rapid development across the country even can’t solve this problem. The media sometime attract the attention about the bad situation of road and concern of local. The effects of the rainy season event are well understood in India as the road was converted into a pool of water, where people can even swim. These events have resulted in severe and predictable damage to local road networks for which government should be made responsible.

Road transport is essential for development as it provides mobility to people and goods. However, it also exposes people to the risk of road accidents, injuries and fatalities. Roads are considered a sign of development bringing colossal benefits to the community as a socioeconomic and logistic facilitator. In India, two-thirds of road traffic injury deaths are reported in the age group 15–44 years. The deaths related to road accident were increasing in India every year. Pothole deaths were directly related to the bad road infrastructure by using low quality of construction material thus it causes more cases of pothole especially during the rainy weather; Safety on road is a vital issue of well-being of any country. The significant increase in the number of potholes on the already fragile Public Work Department (PWD) network has resulted in further deterioration and created a significant maintenance problem for local authorities.

Potholes not only damages vehicle but also cause serious vehicle accidents. Moisture in the pavement freezes during winter with an increasing volume and a consequent decrease in material density. As the frozen pavement layers thaw out in spring, the moisture content of the material increases. A lack of periodic and/or preventative maintenance of roads often leads to the development of surface cracks, which allow rapid ingress of water into the structural layers during rainfall.

Cases of pothole deaths in India

A reference is made to the 234th Report of the Law Commission of India titled as, ‘Legal Reforms to Combat Road Accidents’. The figures mentioned in the opening paragraphs in 2009 have been mentioned giving the statistics of the road network of 3.314 million kilometres in India being one of the largest road networks in the world. Besides, it is mentioned that more than 100,000 Indians were dying every year in road accidents and more than a million were injured or maimed.  It is mentioned that many years ago a study found that road accidents cost the country a sum of Rs.550 billion every year and India’s share in the world fatalities was increasing. So far China had topped the list of most fatal road accidents and India finished a close second. However, the latest statistic showed that while China had managed to decrease its fatality, India had not learnt much. The total road length of India, it is mentioned, was about 12% of the total road network but India’s percentage in road injury was 5.4 per cent of the world total.

Legal regulation on Pothole Deaths

In India, the motor vehicle population is growing at a faster rate than the economic and population growth. The surge in motorization coupled with the expansion of the road network has brought with it the challenge of addressing adverse factors such as the increase in road accidents. According to the data given by the world health organization (WHO), road injuries are the sixth leading cause of death on road in India. In the year of 2017, former Union Minister of State for Roads Masuk Mandaviya told the Lok Sabha that 3,597 people had been killed and 25,000 injured in 2017, just from accidents caused by potholes. The Supreme Court of India noted that more Indians had died from potholes than from terrorist attacks.

 

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