CHENNAI: Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses have killed 651 people killed in 633 accidents in the city in the last five years. A reply from the corporation to an RTI application filed by TOI has revealed that about 143 people die every year in accidents involving MTC buses while at least 11 persons are killed every month in such accidents.
About 78 persons were killed in 76 fatal accidents till July this year, while the corporation spent Rs 56.77 crore in paying compensation to the victims in the last five years, the MTC's reply said. About 2,041 cases had been filed in courts in the last five years seeking compensation for victims.
While driving in congested areas is said to create huge pressure on drivers, sources claim that most of them are not medically fit. MTC drivers on the other hand blame poor maintenance of buses by the corporation for the rise in accidents. "It's very difficult to drive in the city, particularly during peak hours, due to the chaotic traffic. Most of the time we are unable to complete trips on time. Some drivers also want the running time chart to be revised to ensure eight-hour duty for all," said State Transport Employees Union President M Chandran.
The pressure to complete the required number of trips daily often forces drivers to go over the speed limit on near-empty stretches during non-peak hours leading to accidents, sources said adding that installation of 'speed governors' in all buses could regulate overspeeding. Of the 3,421 buses currently operated by the MTC, 3,103 have a 'speed governor'. This device is capable of limiting the speed of vehicles to a maximum of 50 kmph. Under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, this device is mandatory in all vehicles of educational institutions in the city.
However, senior MTC officials claimed that the number of accidents involving the corporation's buses had actually decreased this year compared to previous years. "We are taking several measures to ensure that our drivers adopt safe driving practices," said an official. Additional Commissioner of police (traffic) Sanjay Arora said several MTC drivers had been booked for violating traffic norms and that steps would be taken to ensure the safety of commuters and road-users.
YEAR FATAL ACCIDENTS DEATH
2007 142 145
2008 145 148
2009 138 143
2010 132 137
2011( up to July) 76 78
Total 633 651
A 'speed governor' is capable of limiting the speed of vehicles to a maximum of 50 kmph.
Total MTC buses: 3421
MTC buses which installed speed governors - 3103
Compensation paid by the corporation to the victims in the last 5 years - Rs 56.77 crores