A recent survey of truck owners and drivers across the country conducted by Save LIFE Foundation found that Rs 47,852 crore is allegedly paid as bribes to government officials, traffic and highway police, among others, every year to ensure “smooth truck operations”.
In Mumbai, 45% of drivers and fleet owners admitted to having paid bribes, and nationwide, 67% admitted to doing so. Nearly 50% of the respondents also said they were “fatigued” while driving, and one in five truck drivers admitted to abusing drugs.
Released on Friday, the report stated that the average bribe amount paid by Mumbai respondents was Rs 1,135, and nationally, the average was Rs 849. Hundreds of truck drivers and over 100 fleet owners were surveyed across 10 transportation hubs in India—Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Kanpur, and Vijayawada.
Respondents in Mumbai reported a 98% dissatisfaction level with their profession, higher than the national average of 53%. Reasons included low income, long hours, poor working conditions, and rampant corruption/bribery in trucking operations.
More than eight out of ten respondents (84.2%) in Mumbai reported deterioration in quality of life over the past 10 years, higher than the reported (53%) level nationwide.
When it came to health issues while driving on highways, around 63% drivers reported joint/muscle/neck pain, and 53% reported headaches/ dizziness while driving. In Mumbai, nearly 81% of respondents rated the availability of emergency vehicles or ambulances as bad, compared to 45% nationwide.
“This is a serious health issue and there is a need for medical check-up points and more trauma care centres across all highways,” said Bal Malkit Singh of All India Motor Transport Congress.
Minister of state for road, transport and highway, General (Retd) V K Singh said, “The Centre is taking a number of initiatives to improve the condition of road safety in the country. The new Motor Vehicle Act brings in reforms such as improvements in driver licensing system, recall of faulty vehicles and electronic monitoring and enforcement to reduce corruption.”
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