HomeNationHow Changes in Hit-and-Run Laws Triggered a Nationwide Trucker Protest

How Changes in Hit-and-Run Laws Triggered a Nationwide Trucker Protest

X: @the_news_21

The dawn of the New Year in India heralded not celebrations but chaos as nationwide protests by truck drivers brought roads to a standstill, triggering massive traffic jams and fuel supply fears. The drivers’ discontent stems from the introduction of the new Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita and its stringent hit-and-run law, sparking a three-day protest that has disrupted daily life and mobility across the country.

The crux of the protest revolves around the revised penalty for road accidents under the new criminal code, which supersedes the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The law significantly elevates the maximum penalty for causing a death in a road accident, raising concerns and sparking dissent among drivers, especially those of larger vehicles like trucks.

Under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, a rash or negligent act leading to someone’s death can now attract a maximum imprisonment term of seven years and a hefty fine of ₹7 lakh. However, if the offender flees the scene or fails to report the incident immediately, the imprisonment term can extend to a staggering ten years, accompanied by the same hefty fine.

Truck drivers leading the protests deem this new law draconian and fundamentally biased against them. Their concerns primarily revolve around the impracticality of affording such exorbitant fines, considering their profession as drivers.

Syed Wajed, a protesting tanker driver from Maharashtra, expressed the collective sentiment, questioning how drivers could possibly bear such substantial financial penalties imposed by the new legislation.

The protests have also raised concerns about potential mob violence targeting drivers who attempt to assist and transport the injured to hospitals, creating a chilling effect on humanitarian aid during road accidents.

The widespread dissent isn’t confined to truck drivers alone. Private bus drivers, government bus drivers, and reports of cab drivers joining the protest across various states have surfaced on social media, amplifying the impact and visibility of the ongoing agitation.

The consequences of these protests have been dire, causing severe disruptions to daily life, with citizens enduring prolonged traffic snarls and lengthy queues at petrol pumps. The fear of impending fuel shortages has prompted a rush among citizens to stock up on petrol and diesel, exacerbating the situation further.

As the three-day protest unfolds, citizens grapple with the ramifications of the standoff between the drivers and the legislative changes, showcasing the potent impact of societal discontent and the complexities underlying road safety legislation in India.

Also Read: Amidst Truckers’ Strike, States Assert Ample Fuel Stock, Assuage Public Fears

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