Electric rickshaws causing deadly accidents in Delhi, Indian court hears

Published: July 30, 2014

File photo: A woman drives an electric rickshaw at a promotional event in New Delhi in September 2012. RAVEENDRAN/AFP/GettyImages

IANS

New Delhi  – New Delhi traffic police have informed the High Court that uncontrolled electric rickshaws in the city have led to more than 29 accidents, in which two passengers have died.

Raising serious concern over the accidents, the traffic police – in an affidavit – also said unregulated operation of the battery-operated vehicles tends to cause traffic problems and are causing a nuisance on the roads.

It said that until June, 137 cases were registered against e-rickshaw drivers for rash and negligent driving.

While two people have died in the 29 e-rickshaws accidents,  29 others were injured in those instances, according to the affidavit.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sidharth Mridul are expected to hear the case Thursday.

The traffic police further submitted that passengers of e-rickshaws are not insured for injury or death as these vehicles do not have insurance.

It also said that police are unable to prosecute the poor drivers, as the operation of e-rickshaws is not regulated under India’s Motor Vehicles Act (MVA).

“A large number of e-rickshaws are operating all over Delhi without registration and are being driven without driver licences and that the drivers are not subjected to any background verification which is mandatory for all other public service vehicles operating in the state,” the affidavit said.

The traffic police are asking that the battery-operated rickshaws be properly registered in accordance with the MVA and for a zoning system and colour coding for streamlining their operations.

“Any further assembly or production of e-rickshaws should be strictly prohibited till a regulatory mechanism is put in place,” the traffic police said.

The traffic police’s response came on a plea seeking a ban on e-rickshaws, contending they had no registration numbers and the vehicles were putting passengers at risk since the latter cannot claim insurance in case of an accident.

The public interest litigation (PIL) said e-rickshaws operated with four batteries and were designed to ferry four people, including the driver. However, the drivers, at times, carried up to eight passengers, endangering lives, according to the affidavit.

IANS 2014-07-30 23:06:18

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