Potential killers rule our roads

Trucks and autos with sharp, protruding iron rods routinely go about their business with no fear of the law.

Goods vehicles in Bengaluru carry steel pipes jutting out and posing dangers to road users. DH Photos by S K Dinesh

The sight of iron rods dangerously sticking out of vehicles is common in Bengaluru. You also see trucks with garbage and sand routinely spilling their load on to the roads. These are serious hazards: they can cause impact your health, and even lead to injury and death.

Police book cases against vehicles carrying lengthy material, but the penalty is so paltry that no one fears them. In 2017, they booked 1,96,750 cases, and the number went up to 3,53,416 in 2018. This year (till February 28), the number is 53,212. The RTO books at least two lakh cases a year against overloaded vehicles. Repeat offenders could lose their licences, but officials can’t recall any instance in which a licence was suspended for overloading or littering the streets.

BBMP contractors run tipper autos to collect garbage, and they strew the streets with filth as they drive from one collection point to the next. P Harishekaran, Additional Commissioner of


BBMP tipper autos strew steets with garbage.

Police (Traffic), says, “We book a lot of cases. The fine is Rs 100 and that doesn’t deter people from committing the offence again.”

He hopes amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, raising the penalties, come through soon. “That will surely instil some fear in people,” he told Metrolife.

Vehicles carrying sand have been warned not to overload their vehicles, and to cover the load with tarpaulin, he says.

RTO officials say they regularly check for violations related to overloading.

Additional Commissioner Enforcement (South) C P Narayanswamy, says officials book vehicles under Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

That is a general provision for offences and says if no penalty is specified for an offence, the maximum penalty is Rs 100 in the first instance. The penalty can go up to Rs 300 for subsequent offences. “A Supreme Court ruling says repeat offenders could have their licences suspended for four weeks to six months,” Narayanswamy says.

Cases booked

- 2017 1.96 L
- 2018 3.53 L
- 2010 53,212*

(*Till Feb. Traffic police collect a penalty of Rs 100 for overloading)

3,500 autos on streets
The BBMP has about 4,000 tipper autos, with 3,000 to 3,500 running at any point.
D Randeep, Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management and Health), BBMP, is aware the autos move about without covering the garbage.
“We have issued an advisory directing all of them to cover the garbage but we see nothing is being followed. We haven’t penalised anybody but we want to take this up at the earliest,” he told Metrolife

Will issue orders
Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun says tipper autos must cover the garbage. “Not doing so can cause serious health hazards and we are aware about it. We haven’t taken any action on the offenders but we will look into it on priority,” she told Metrolife.  

Can blind and kill
Iron rods jutting out of autos and trucks can potentially cause severe injuries and even kill. Garbage and sand can be hazardous in less dramatic but equally serious problems. Dr Sanjiv Lewin, chief of Medical Services and professor of paediatrics, St John’s Medical College Hospital, says any inhaled foreign body---including organic material like vegetable waste---can trigger severe health problems. “It can trigger serious allergic reactions and cause problems related to the lungs. If you are on a two-wheeler and not wearing a helmet, sand falling from a truck can, in the worst case, lead to loss of vision,” says Lewin.
A sand particle entering the eye causes irritation and prompts you to rub it. This leads to corneal abrasion. If a stone or pebble slips out of the sand truck, it could hit the eye or the windshield of a car, and cause damage and injury, he explains.

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Potential killers rule our roads

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