Drivers go unidentified in 40 pc fatal accidents, tracing them an uphill task

Drivers involved in almost 40 per cent of all fatal road accidents over the last three years in Delhi have remained untraced. Of the 1,060 people killed in accidents till August-end this year, it remains unknown who caused the death of 436 of them, according to Delhi traffic police data.

Police said they earnestly look out for every piece of evidence or eyewitnesses in these hit-and-run cases. But these are most often lacking, forcing police to put files related to such accidents in the “unknown” category after investigations.

Of the 1,822 fatal accidents in 2012, police failed to track the culprits in 696. Killers of 702 people that year were never identified. It was not very different last year as drivers responsible for the deaths of 723 of the 1,820 killed in road accidents remained untraced.

The presence of CCTV cameras has helped trace a number of drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents, but cameras generally cover only certain junctions and investigating such cases often ends up producing no results if drivers escaped with the vehicles.

Acknowledging that identifying drivers involved in hit-and-run cases is very difficult, Sharad Agarwal, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said, adding installing more CCTV cameras by the roadsides was not a practical solution.

“CCTV cameras are of help, but they cannot cover the entire stretch of Delhi roads. There are also limitations caused by range of the cameras, low visibility, and the costs involved,” Agarwal told Deccan Herald.

Instead, he said, the police could do well to reach an accident spot early. “Public memory is short. An eyewitness must have noticed the colour or make of the vehicle or must have partially read the registration number of the vehicle. If they are questioned soon after the accident, the driver’s identity can be ascertained,” said Agarwal.

The officer remembers an old incident in which one driver involved in a hit-and-run case was identified by a unique method adopted by a policeman in Delhi. “The policeman found no eyewitness at the accident spot. So he put up a board there seeking out the help of anyone who might have seen the accident take place. The method led to an arrest,” said Agarwal.

But identifying the erring vehicles becomes nearly impossible if the accidents have taken place during the night or early morning hours.

“In such cases, we look out for broken number plates or other parts of the vehicle. All these are time-consuming exercises and there are very few success stories if the driver has left the spot,” said another police officer.

If police’s visit to the accident spot throws up no eyewitness, the files are closed for investigations. “But we can reopen such cases if anyone comes up with evidence later,” said the officer, adding they generally close a clueless case after a month of the accident.tal accidents, tracing them an uphill task.

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