Bus driver, 42, beaten to death by 22-year-old biker. Who is responsible? Can compensation get a life back?

| Monday, May 11, 2015 - 17:29
First Published |

Delhi Road Rage: Who is responsible?

NEW DELHI: 42 year-old Ashok Kumar, driver of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) was beaten to death on Sunday morning. The incident occurred after he grazed the bus he was driving into a bike occupied by a young man Vijay and his mother. Following the incident, putting numerous commuters and school children in trouble, drivers of the state-run bus service stayed off roads in protest on Monday. (Also Read: Road rage: Delhi bus driver beaten to death)

Vijay reportedly climbed up on the bus after his bike was scratched by Ashok Kumar and bashed him with his helmet in view of over 40 people on board who did not take a step forward to stop the 22-year-old young boy who mercilessly killed the driver. He also beat the driver on his head with a fire extinguisher kept in the bus and then left him bleeding in an unconscious state.

Believing the investigations, Vijay and his mother fell when the bus hit their motorcycle in West Delhi’s Mundka area.

While Vijay was arrested on Sunday night itself, his mother was on Monday arrested for allegedly provoking him throughout the incident.

A resident of Haryana, deceased Ashok Kumar was a father of two. The Delhi government has announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for his family along with a job assurance for one family member. The family of Kumar will now be headed by his son, currently studying in a college who has a responsibility of his paralyzed mother and younger sister.

Almost all DTC buses remained shut today as the drivers demanded at least one crore compensation for the family of Ashok Kumar and better safety measures for them.

Many schools in the national capital are dependent on the services offered by the DTC; however, these schools alerted the parents on Monday morning about making their own arrangements of dropping and picking up the kids. 

Commuters then juggled between the auto—rickshaws and taxis, who benefitting from the incident over charged some people, reports said.

Some buses started operating as the afternoon got closer and the officials from DTC assured that all buses will be soon back on the road.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked for a report on the mishap and the protection of bus staff and passengers in buses.

The incidents of road scuffles, nowadays called as ‘road rage incidents’ are escalating in Delhi especially in last 2-3 years. The episodes of short-tempered attitude on roads, accidents have seen a big rise in the national capital where people feel no shame in punching somebody or even kill them.

While many such cases go unnoticed, here are only few of those reported since last year in Delhi:

• Earlier this month, a 35-year-old man was thrashed by three men when he asked them to make way for his car in North-West Delhi’s Rohini.
• Son and nephew of a law-maker from Bihar were thrashed in South Delhi’s Hauz Khas area allegedly by their neighbour and his friends over a parking dispute in April this year.
• In April this year again, a 38-year-old man was beaten to death following an altercation when his motorbike hit a car near Turkman Gate in Daryaganj. (Also Read: Delhi: Man beaten to death in alleged road rage case)
• A 22-year-old boy was shot at after a minor argument over parking in Narela region of Delhi in August, 2014.
• A driver of Delhi Public School, Rohini who was carrying 40 school students suffered serious head injuries last year after he was hit by two men in Alto car for not giving them enough passage to lead near the Japanese Park.
• A bus driver of GD Goenka School was hit by a hammer by a man travelling in a Scorpio for not giving him way in Dwarka.
• In July 2014, road rage claimed another victim when five youths occupying a Verna car assaulted three pedestrians for not giving them passage to their car. One of the walkers was killed by the attackers by breaking his neck at the Kotla Mubarakpur area.

According to senior Delhi Police officials, 36 road rage cases were registered in 2013 and in 2014 also, a similar figure was reported. They informed that the PCR receives almost 10-12 calls every day because of minor fights on the Delhi roads.

The short-tempered drivers have made the Delhi roads extremely dangerous and unsafe for others. With the increasing ratio of such episodes, the issue is giving rise to severe concerns, and calls for urgent precautionary measures.

But who is to be blamed for such incidents? Is it police, the authorities, the society, or the drivers? Let’s understand the behavioral patterns of aggressive driving:

One of the major reasons of road rage is the aggressive behavior of the drivers. According to psychologists, in medical terms, aggressive driving beahviour shown by several drivers is linked to ‘intermittent explosive disorder’ and there are various reasons that give rise to such situations. Read on to know more…

• The first of its kind is ‘annoying type’ where the driver is irritated, impatient, angry at small issues on the roads such as passing through the red lights, changing lanes, not using indicators, blocking roads, traffic, speeding, not giving way etc. These reasons may trigger road rage.
• Another major type of aggressive behaviourial driving is when the driver considers himself to be superior to the others. He tries to show his power or force. For instance, he may not let someone else move car into his lane, use abusive language while driving or yell and use offensive gestures to intimidate other drivers. This behavior exhibits an extremely unhealthful mentality and mindset of the driver.
• The last type is the most dangerous one where the driver resorts to brutal measures such as racing at extremely high speed or assault someone with a weapon leading to death of the other driver.
Citizens - one of the factors….
We as citizens could also be blamed for the increasing road rage episodes. Some of facts that may contribute to the increasing incidents include:
• No sense of lane driving
• Loss of sense of community
• Everyone is in hurry
• Regularly violate the traffic rules
• Inconsistent driving speed
• Lack of civic sense
• Lack of patience
• Be a mute spectator to any road rage incident

How authorities can be blamed?

Well, if citizens are to be blamed, then law, police and authorities are equally responsible for the increasing number of road rage incidents. Here is how…

• No strict action against the offending drivers.
• Prolonged traffic jams and no official to clear it out.
• Traffic control not properly maintained.
• Police arrives the spot extremely late.
• No special lanes for ambulances

Let’s avert road rage!    

The authorities can avoid the ill-bred by several methods such as installing functional CCTV cameras in all sensitive and traffic congested locations that also includes bus stops and inside the public and private buses to closely check the behavior of the drivers. 

Apart from this, random and regular checks by higher police officials at ‘red’ stops would too help in cutting down the crooked practices by police constables and junior officials.

However, we as citizens too can contribute in avoiding such incidents. Let’s read on how…

• Do not offer a same reaction to the aggressive driver and do not match his behavior.
• Avoid any physical reaction including the aggressive eye contact. 
• As you do not know the impulsiveness of the other driver, you need to keep a control on your temper.
• Walk out of home with a calm mind. Keep a level head. Even though it is difficult, but maintain that calmness to avoid any annoying episode.
• If you feel you are being followed, instead of stopping anywhere, head towards the police station and stop your car there.
• Follow traffic rules, lane driving and overtaking especially in the traffic-struck zones.
• Never drink and drive.
• Do not honk unnecessary. It certainly irritates the other person.
• Try being courteous to the other driver even though he is at fault. Let him make his way and pass on.
• Self-control is the key aspect. 

It is the personal duty of one and all to respect and care for humankind. We need to be responsible for our own lives and also others out on the road. Let the personal aggression and anger not overtake us and do damage to the innocent commuters.

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