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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Negligent Truck gets struck near Ekkattuthangal, Chennai

Every day, we get to hear or read about so many accidents and to an Insurer it is daily part of life.  ‘accidental damage’ – is the cause of most claims..

Today a report in The New Indian Express which read ‘Several people driving through the 100 Feet Road at Ekkaduthangal had a providential escape on Monday [16.4.12] when a 25-foot-long iron bar, which was fixed across the road to caution tall vehicles to avoid the stretch where Metro Rail construction was underway, came crashing down. The huge iron bar fell on the busy road after the roof of a tall truck hit it when the driver tried to squeeze through, ignoring warning boards, at 3.20 pm.
 Photo courtesy : The New Indian Express (Chennai Edition)

Vehicles that were following the truck stopped inches short of the collapsed metal bar. “It was scary,” recalled a driver, who wished not to be named. “Seeing the tall truck moving under the cross-bar, I slowed down my car as I had the feeling that the vehicle will get stuck. The cross-bar wasn’t fixed properly and it came crashing down in the flash of a second after the rear portion of the lorry touched it when the vehicle jerked,” he added. People who witnessed the mishap blamed both the truck driver and the Metro contractor for the mishap. “The lorry driver should have avoided the stretch as there are warning signs banning tall vehicles on the stretch. And, the Metro contractor did not weld the cross bar to the pillars on both sides of the road,” an eyewitness said. As traffic came to a standstill on the road, Metro workers shifted the iron bar to the side of the road with the help of bystanders. Traffic on the road was affected for around 20 minutes.

When Express contacted the Metro Rail spokesman, he squarely put the blame on the driver of the container lorry. “The stretch was banned for vehicles of this height. Despite the ban, the lorry driver entered the stretch and the top portion of the container collided with the iron bar,” the railway spokesman said, giving a clean chit to contractor.  “When a truck is banned on the stretch, the truck driver violated the law. How could the contractor be blamed,” he asked.

Such negligent and careless acts are on increase ! – the other day, traffic on a busy road came to a screeching halt – some road work had caused huge patches and huge mound of sand.  An open truck laden with oxygen cylinders tried passing through driving at good speed, and one of the heavy cylinders went up on air and fell down on the road – fortunately not injuring anybody but creating a mess, a traffic jam, cleared with the help of some local Samaritans. 

In the accident near Eekkattuthangal, there seemingly had been warning boards, the very purpose of the rod was to warn the vehicles of the bridge height – the driver still chose to drive and ram his vehicle on the bridge.  The driver knowingly aware of the trouble still bought it – the rod which should have been fixed properly was not – and do we call this an accident ??

A Fortuity is the basic premise of  insurance.  In common parlance, we use this term very loosely. Many a times, accident only connotes a road accident and injury to people.  In its correct sense, an accident or mishap is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity. It usually implies a generally negative outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence.

It something keeps recurring it is no longer an accident ! - also those caused by willful or negligent acts, should not be construed as accidents.  The accident causation needs to be analysed and reason found out to be used in risk analysis and risk management.  A Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester, UK – James Reason is famous for his research interest is human performance in hazardous systems.  James Reason hypothesizes that most accidents can be traced to one or more of four levels of failure: Organizational influences, unsafe supervision, preconditions for unsafe acts, and the unsafe acts themselves.

Sometimes, individuals act strangely arising out of ignorance, greed, malice, laziness, fatigue, negligence, fit of rage, indifference, distractions and more.  Many a times humans fail to observe basic safety rules.  The so called accident at Chennai was brought about the culture of violating rules with impunity if no Police is around and the poor work habits.  People by such callous act do harm the Society enormously but would continue unabated as long as they are not educated on these – and punishment is the only deterrent which works here

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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