Proposed law to make road vehicle driver responsible for checking railway level crossings

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Considering high number of crashes and fatalities at unmanned railway crossings, the proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill makes it mandatory for every driver to stop the vehicle and check whether any train is approaching before crossing the tracks. Those violating the norm would attract a fine of Rs 5,000 or two weeks’ imprisonment or both.

On Monday, 12 lives were lost when a passenger train hit a van that was crossing a railway track in Hisar. “The section of ‘Duty of the driver to take certain precautions at unguarded railway level crossings’ has been incorporated to discipline the errant drivers. While there is a joint plan of road and railway ministries to get rid of unmanned crossings and build over bridges or underpasses, every driver has to be cautious while driving on such stretches,” said a road ministry official.

As per the new section in the proposed law, every driver has to stop at unmanned railway level crossing and shall be responsible to send the conductor, cleaner, attendant or any other person in the vehicle up to the level crossing and ensure that no train or trolley is approaching from either side. It specifies if the vehicle does not have a conductor or cleaner or attendant, the driver shall get down and check himself before crossing the track.

There are about 11,500 unmanned railway crossings across the country and according to reports, crashes at level crossings are the biggest killer, accounting for 66% of fatalities in train crashes.

According to National Crime Records Bureau data, 1,318 people were killed in rail-road crashes in 2013 in comparison to 1,808 in 2012.