Drivers and corruption, not cars, cause accidents

Cars do not kill. Drivers do. But they are not the only ones. Corruption and self-serving collusion between contractors and municipal and state road authorities resulting in dangerous, cracked and cratered Indian roads are a major cause of accidents, says Kiron Kasbekar.

For some inexplicable reason, Ratan Tata's dream, the micro-priced Nano car has drawn completely unwarranted flak from environmentalists. For a discussion of some of these reasons, see Vivek Sharma's article on domain-b a couple of days ago (Why critics of the Tata small car are barking up the wrong tree) 

Now the car, which is bound to give Tata Motors' rivals some sleepless nights, is being attacked from other angles.

There was this argument doing the rounds – that the car will result in more accidents. As far as the Nano being hit by or hitting another vehicle is concerned, Ratan Tata has clarified that the Nano has gone through necessary crash tests.

So another, slightly different, perhaps more insidious objection has cropped up – the car will be involved in accidents because it will be bought by people who don't know how to drive, and by people (those who switch from motorcycles) who have a tendency towards rash driving. The New York Times carried an article, 'Indians hit the road amid elephants', which discussed this problem at length.

The real killers

But cars don't kill, drivers do – and they are allowed to. It is futile blaming first-time drivers. Hundreds of thousands of expert drivers, who have been driving vehicles for years, are probably the rashest of motorists.