One hears almost daily of three-wheeler accidents and invariably with their on the spot insurance schemes, the three-wheeler driver escapes generally with a couple of injuries and assurances that his vehicle will be repaired while his passengers often seriously injured have either to recourse to legal action from which they will get little compensation though usually they have to produce myriad medical bills , X ray reports and whatnots ( after all I should know considering that almost an year has elapsed since the three-wheeler I was travelling in taking a sharp turn knocked a pile of stones and I landed on the hard surface of the road and got a hip fracture which is yet healing. Oh so slowly! The insurance company whose inspection officer had totally ignored my existence in the vehicle , later rather kindly asked me to file legal action against the driver but that would have just added to my further misery to go through all that drama for just about 50,000 rupees!! ).
In fact now that metered budget taxi’s have come into existence and there appears to be greater responsibility among the drivers of those vehicles and the Nano cabs have been introduced to the market for the easy and comfortable travel of the poorer and middle class public. One wonders why the -wheeler drivers association should have held such a vast demonstration against the Nano cabs and made such disparaging comments.
The police have taken little or no action in continuing with the process of registering three-wheelers in the police areas to which they belong , it was a process started with a lot of fanfare but was as is usual happens the programme just fizzled out though some outstation police stations yet continue to do so.
Considering the numbers in the traffic police why on earth could it not have been continued? Some police stations yet mark the name of the police area so that in the event of a three-wheeler meeting with an accident and leaving the passengers high and dry as they go getting insurance inspection at least the passengers can make a complaint to the relevant police station.
In Madras and Bangalore where millions of three-wheelers function each three wheeler has to have its registered number , police location , police emergency number and the area fixed on the passenger side of the vehicle . |It also has to carry a fare list according to kilometres. In Sri Lanka the police themselves often know that three wheelers break the lock that prevents the ninety degree turn they can take but no checks are made on them, they just go for a fitness test and hi presto they get a revenue licence.
If the police in each area were to register the three wheelers plying in their area they can do spot check to see whether the lock has been broken and also see that the details regarding the three wheeler are fixed for passengers to note them down. This will also enable passengers to inform the police if the vehicle is driven recklessly or whether they are under the influence of liquor or drugs. In fact a few days ago a terrible accident occurred where a three wheeler driver under the influence of drugs took a sharp turn and was knocked by a car that had right of way, the passengers were seriously injured but the three wheeler driver escaped with just a few minor injuries. Perhaps political agendas may require the support of three wheeler drivers when election time comes around. After all there are so many that their votes count , and they also carry the various propaganda material , photographs of candidates and also offer often their free service to guys who go posting political slogans and candidates profiles on walls and various other public places . But now that we have some type of discipline coming back to our roads and sufficient traffic police one sees so many of them that one wonders whether their main function is to check whether any vehicle breaks the colour lights or drive too fast ,. Instead their obvious latent talent in controlling vehicular traffic could perhaps be used to form a special unit to check the three wheelers themselves , check on the drivers and bring them back to orderly driving and careful passenger safety.
Then I am sure they will not feel so threatened as to hold huge demonstration , for fear that their regular customers will choose Nano cabs or think of using budget metered taxis!