31st Road Safety Week: Odisha RTO & Police turn a blind eye to overloading menace
Overloaded trucks kill 2 every day in Odisha. Study shows they curtail the life span of roads by as much as 30%, means a road with 15-year life span will record damages to pavement within 5-years
Bhubaneswar: Even as Odisha is observing the Road safety Week with the theme of Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha, the big observation is authorities – RTO and Odisha Police – seem to have turned a blind eye to the menace of overloaded trucks moving precariously on Odisha roads.
These overloaded vehicles neither ensure Sadak Suraksha nor Jeevan Raksha. Mishaps owing to overloaded trucks are killing over 2 people every day in Odisha.
As per the 2018 road accidents statistics released recently by Odisha Transport Department, the State saw a total of 1,977 accidents singularly due to overloaded trucks. These mishaps took a toll of 919 lives and left 2419 others injured in 2018. The 2019 data is yet to be released as the data processing is on, says State Transport Department officials.
Significantly, the new Motor Vehicle Act has increased the penalty amount for overloading recently. Now, an overloaded truck has to pay a fine of Rs 20,000 from Rs 2000 earlier. Moreover, they have to shell Rs 2000 per extra ton over and above the normal vis-a-vis Rs 1000 earlier.
Since December 1, 2019, when the new MVA has been implemented fully in the State, though reports of penalising vehicle users for not using safety devices or for using mobiles while driving or consuming alcohol during driving/riding have been quite often, one is yet to come across few instances of levying fines on overloaded trucks
This is so, when NHAI manual has very clear cut norms. It says, for a two axle truck, the loading ratio of 1:2 on front and rear axles seem to be a safe loading pattern and for a four axle truck it is 1:2:2:2.
Truck operators have to follow this loading pattern, NHAI specified. It further added even if the gross weight of a truck is within the legal load limit (18 tones for 2-axle trucks), and if the load distribution pattern is varying, say, for a two axle truck if the load distribution pattern of 1:2 is varied the heavier loaded axle will cause much impact on the road surface than which it is meant to withstand. The NHAI very clearly said that overloading is not good for road’s health.
A study in Kerala published in International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology (IJERT) shows that not adhering to the NHAI manual on overloading leads to a 30 per cent dip in life-span of roads.
But overloaded trucks seen moving on roads with impunity even in peak hours. And authorities turn a blind eye to the imbalance load distribution the trucks carry. And the alibi they give is the gross weight of truck is around 18 tons.