Tathya Patel is not an isolated case of speeding that killed nine people in Ahmedabad. There are many such Tathyas, posing danger to people’s lives on the roads of Gujarat.
One road user was killed in a hit and run case every eight hours from April 2022 to March 2023, according to data tabled in the legislative assembly. Of the state’s 33 districts and four major cities, 14 jurisdictions reported 50 or more deaths in 2022-23.
Sabarkantha district had the highest number, 94 deaths from hit and runs. Of the four cities, Rajkot had the highest rate of hit and runs when adjusted for population.
In a response to the question by Jamalpur-Khadia MLA Imran Khedawala, the home minister said that from April 2020 to March 2023, there were 4,860 hit and run cases in the state. These claimed 3,449 lives and left 2,720 with serious injuries. About 71% of the cases involved a fatality, the statistics show.
While the Covid years of 2020-21 saw 1,499 hit and runs, there were 1,770 in 2022-23. Ahmedabad city recorded 168 deaths in these three years.
The state government said traffic awareness initiatives are in place, along with the fixing of speed limits. Speed guns have been issued to catch speedsters. The state government also told the house that joint enforcement teams of officials from the police, municipal corporation and RTO have been created in urban areas, to carry out patrolling and enforce laws as directed by the high court.
“Almost all deaths on roads are attributed to speeding. Apart from enforcement, two other Es of engineering and education are important,” said a road safety expert. “Compared to conventional road crashes, hit and runs are graver as the injured may not get help in time.”