When speeding luxury cars wreaked death

PTI, May 30, 2024, 12:38 PM IST

The death of two IT professionals in Pune after being run over by an overspeeding super car speaks of the horrors of drunken and rash driving while also recalling the many times the thrill of speed in an uber luxury automobile spelt death and destruction. Anish Awadhiya and Ashwini Kostha were killed in an accident in the early hours of May 19 when an overspeeding Porsche allegedly driven by a drunk 17-year-old boy hit their motorcycle. Speeding cars have too often been involved in accidents that turned fatal for those involved, including the occupants of the vehicles.

Two days before the accident in Pune, a speeding BMW car rammed into an e-rickshaw in Noida, leaving two dead, including a nurse, and three injured at 6 am on May 16.

The Uttar Pradesh city saw another fatal accident on May 26 morning as an Audi car hit a 64-year-old man, killing him on the spot, before speeding away.

The victim, Janak Dev Shah, a resident of Gijhor village in Sector-53, was crossing the road to buy milk.

Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district, comprising Noida and Greater Noida, witnessed 1,176 road crashes last year that resulted in the deaths of 470 people and injuries to 858.

The district had recorded 437 such deaths and injuries to 856 people in 2022, according to official data.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in its report Road Accidents in India 2022 stated that 4.61 lakh road accidents were reported across the country in 2022, killing 1.68 lakh people and injuring 4.43 lakh.

Among various traffic rule violations, overspeeding contributed to 1.19 lakh of the total 1.68 lakh deaths.

In August last year, two people died in an accident in Haryana’s Nuh after a Rolls Royce Phantom collided with a petrol tanker on the Delhi-Mumbai expressway. Even though it was the truck that was driving on the wrong side, the limousine was reportedly speeding at nearly 230 kmph. The two occupants of the truck died on impact while those in the car escaped with injuries. Talking about the increasing number of road accidents involving luxury cars, road safety advocate and founder of NGO SaveLIFE Foundation Piyush Tewari said that the problem arises from the flawed licensing system in the country.

”Currently, if you have an LMV licence, you can drive anything from an 800cc car to a high-powered supercar. The licensing system should be upgraded to a graduated licensing system under which a person is given a licence based on their competency to drive a certain vehicle,” Tewari said. One of the most-reported car accidents killed former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry and his friend Jehangir Pandole in November 2022. The duo were travelling in a Mercedes-Benz SUV, driven by Anahita Pandole with her husband in the passenger seat. According to reports, the car was speeding at over 100 kmph and crashed into a road divider.

It was later determined that the two passengers in the back seat died because they were not wearing seat belts. In October 2022, a BMW, cruising at a speed of more than 230 kmph on the Purvanchal Expressway became a mangled heap of metal after colliding with a truck. The car’s four occupants died on the spot. The luxury car was being driven by a 35-year-old professor of a private college in Rohtas in Bihar. His friends Deepak Kumar, an engineer, Akhilesh Singh, a realtor, and Mukesh, a businessman, were live-streaming on Facebook when the accident happened.

In the live-stream it was also seen that one of them was encouraging the driver to speed up further. In another tragic accident in August 2021 in Bengaluru, seven people were killed after their Audi Q3 car driven by DMK MLA Y Prakash’s son Karunasagar Prakash rammed into a divider.

The police concluded that the accident occurred because of negligent driving by Prakash who was speeding at 100 kmph. Motor vehicle accidents have not spared pedestrians either. According to the Road Accidents in India 2022 report, 10,160 pedestrians died in 20,513 accidents on national highways.

In an accident in February 2020, an overspeeding Mercedes Benz car on a national highway near Hosapete in Karnataka hit an 18-year-old pedestrian at a tea stall who died on impact and was dragged for several metres. The accident also killed the front seat passenger.

Tewari noted that to make roads safer, one of the foremost infrastructural changes involves creating pedestrian-friendly structures.

”In India, roads are not pedestrian-friendly. We need to make some infrastructural changes to the existing road network to make them safe for pedestrians, especially along highways, intersections and the city sections from where a highway passes,” he added.

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