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Accidents and GDP? Related?!?
Road accidents not just cost lives, but cost India 3% of its GDP too!

‘Better late than never’ is a cliche that describes well the current status of the Indian judicial system. Yes, after a long wait, our judicial system has proven that ‘no one’ is above the law, not even drunken drivers! The recent hit-and-run case prosecution of Sanjeev Nanda on August 26, 2008 is a case in point. Nanda was charged with culpable homicide and ‘not’ negligent driving. This may have given birth to several controversies, but it has actually saved the day for ‘on-road’ justice in India.

This decision actually adds an altogether new dimension to the case. It questions the very argument behind accidents: are they actually accidents or culpable homicide (as the driver with a valid license is supposed to know the consequences of negligent driving)? A July 2008 report titled ‘Legal Reforms to Combat Road Accidents’, by the Law Commission, suggested that any case of rash driving should be dealt strictly and a minimum imprisonment of five years should be given to the accused! Indeed, a country with a total motorable road stretch of 3 million km, which can shamefully take the blame for annual traffic fatalities to the tune of over 100,000, it becomes imperative to have a strict on-road law. Moreover, with annual passenger vehicle sales in India expected to touch 2,000,000 units by 2010, it’s important to make drivers wary of the consequence of their negligence. With the World Bank estimating that road accidents cost India about 3% of its GDP annually (about $30 billion), preventing accidents also mean preventing loss of capital. The law must however be careful as chances of persecuting the wrong person might also skyrocket? Indeed, with great laws come greater responsibilities!

By:- Sray Agarwal

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