Road Traffic Accidents in India
Information on what to do if you are involved in a car accident in India…
India’s congested and disorderly roads mean accidents and collisions occur frequently. Indian drivers are notoriously rash and minor collisions are common. Fatal car accidents are less frequent in urban areas because the traffic is usually moving so slowly.
Following a minor collision, drivers rarely stop to investigate or exchange information because many do not have valid car insurance or licences. Unfortunately, this also means that the victim usually bears the cost of repairs and medical care. So drivers are advised to always carry a first-aid kit in their car. For more serious injuries, the national emergency number is 2611. The regional emergency phone number differs from state to state, but is generally 100 or 108.
If the guilty driver commits a “hit and run” offence, the victim should note down the licence plate number and report the accident to the nearest traffic police officer or police station. A First Information Report must be filled out to register the accident. The guilty driver can often be tracked down by the police and fined.
After informing the police, the victim should file a claim with their insurance company. The victim should provide as much information about the accident as possible, including any pedestrians involved along with the culprit’s contact information, driver’s licence and/or insurance policy number.
More serious car accidents are handled efficiently in India’s cities because most neighbourhoods have a hospital. Major hospitals will also have ambulances that can reach an accident site quickly and provide treatment for victims. However, it is often easier for the victim to find their own means of getting to the nearest hospital because ambulances may get stuck in heavy traffic.
Serious car accidents occurring in smaller towns and villages can be a serious problem because there is no national ambulance service, and most rural hospitals lack ambulances. Ambulances are sent from the nearest major hospital, which may be several hours away. Witnesses to car accidents will often help victims, in the absence of traffic police officers or ambulances. However, bystanders are reluctant to become involved with car accidents, as they can find themselves entangled in legal issues.
The 1994 amendment to the central government’s Motor Vehicles Act states that a driver involved in an accident has to take any victims to the nearest doctor using either their vehicle or other transportation. If the driver is unfit to assist, a witness should try to take the victims and the driver to a doctor. But the witness may then be questioned by the police and insurance companies, or even called into court to report on the accident.
- Further information on accidents and first aid can be found on Chandigarh Traffic Police’s website: Click here
Car breakdowns are easy to fix because there are roadside tyre shops and garages that offer on-the-spot repairs all over India. Although there are no national agencies offering roadside assistance for breakdowns, several regional automobile associations do. For example, the Automobile Association of Southern India (AASI) and Automobile Association of Eastern India (AAEI) offer a voluntary roadside assistance and towing service to transport stranded vehicles to the nearest garage.
- For more information about the AASI’s services: Click here
- For more information about the AAEI’s services: Click here