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Traffic police as investigators?

LAW &ORDER The proposal to assign the responsibility to investigate a road accident to the traffic police has many advantages and disadvantages, wrties Marri Ramu

Whenever the frightening figures of fatal accidents are discussed, the Government wing that comes first to the minds of people is the traffic police. But, not many know that traffic police do not analyse the reasons for accidents except compiling the data in a superficial manner like the stretches that witness frequent accidents.

The traffic wing draws a blank if one asks them why a large number of accidents are occurring on a particular road. This is so because it is the law and order police and the not the traffic policemen who investigate road accidents.

The idea of assigning the responsibility to investigate a road accident to the traffic police was mooted in this backdrop. But, the idea has many advantages and disadvantages. The plus point is that the traffic police would be able to analyse the reasons for accidents in a comprehensive manner since they would be `on the field' always and get a `first hand information'.

For example, the recent spurt in road accidents resulting in injuries to school students has been a cause of concern for everyone. An LKG student was killed in front of her school when a DCM van mowed her down while she was crossing the road a month ago.

Another student was killed when the autorickshaw in which he was travelling with seven other students overturned near Basheerbagh.

Existing system

Even as the traffic police began a crackdown on three-wheelers violating the six-per-an-autorickshaw rule, three students escaped with minor injuries after the moped they were riding rammed into the rear side of a bus two days ago.

As per the existing system, the law and order police concerned booked cases and began investigation. On completion of the probe, the police would file chargesheet and the matter ends there.

All that the traffic police would know about these three accidents is only basic data.

They would never know with what speed the van hit the student, whether there was any flaw in designing the road at the accident spot, if the brakes of autorickshaw failed and why the parents of the student in the third case did allow the latter to ride the moped.

Unless these minute details are studied, foolproof remedial measures cannot be suggested.

Investigation into road accidents is least on the priority of many police stations that witness a large number of other cases pertaining to law and order maintenance.

As a result, the quality of investigation is suffering concealing the `exact reasons for accidents'.

But, handing over the investigation to traffic police has another angle.

The Hyderabad traffic police are already bogged down by the problem of inadequate staff.

If the understaffed traffic wing is asked to probe the accidents that run into thousands in a year, there is every possibility of traffic regulation being affected.

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