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New Hit-and-Run Law Sparks Nationwide Truck Driver Protest

The nationwide truck driver protest against the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), a new hit-and-run law, entered its second day on Tuesday, January 2. Truck, bus, and tanker drivers initiated a three-day strike, resulting in long queues at petrol pumps and a noticeable disruption in fuel supply across the country. The stringent jail and fine regulations under the BNS have sparked this widespread agitation.

Details of the New Law

The BNS, replacing the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, mandates severe penalties for drivers causing serious road accidents due to negligent driving and then fleeing the scene. The law punishes up to 10 years or a fine of Rs 7 lakh. Specifically, it states that anyone causing death by rash or negligent acts, not amounting to culpable homicide, may face up to seven years in prison and a fine.

Truck drivers gathered in a meeting discussing concerns about the new hit-and-run law.
Truck Drivers Unite to Voice Concerns Over New Hit-and-Run Legislation.

Drivers’ Concerns and Demands

Transport operators have criticised the law for potentially leading to unjust punishments and increasing the risk of mob violence against drivers, especially those trying to help the injured. Rajendra Kapoor, President of the All India Motor & Goods Transport Association, expressed frustration over the lack of consultation with stakeholders before implementing the law. He emphasized the need for discussions and raised concerns about the general public’s lack of awareness regarding the new law.

Widespread Disruption Due to Strike

The strike, starting on Monday, January 1, has led to significant disruptions. Protestors have blockaded roads and highways in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, affecting vehicle movement and fuel supply. Nearly five lakh vehicles have reportedly been impacted in Madhya Pradesh alone, with long queues forming at petrol pumps in various states. Highways in Gujarat districts such as Kheda, Valsad, Gir Somnath, Bharuch, and Mehsana witnessed severe obstructions due to parked vehicles and blockades set up by protesters.



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