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Probe into Uttarakhand crash that killed 15 reveals driving test fraud | India News

DEHRADUN: An inspection report submitted by the transport department‘s lead agency has revealed that the Rudraprayag accident on June 15, which led to the death of 15 people, found that the online fee for the endorsement of mountainous routes on the driver’s licence was deposited after the accident, suggesting that “someone else completed the online test and fee submission on behalf of the driver”.The report further recommended reconsidering the implementation of the earlier system of physical examination of the driver to prevent such fraud. It was also found during the investigation that the driver was driving on mountain routes for the first time and was speeding.
The report, still under consideration at the headquarters in Dehradun, further stated that the Tempo Traveller vehicle broke through five parapet blocks before falling 250 metres into the Alaknanda river. The vehicle took several turns and partially drowned in the river, with some passengers being thrown out onto the slope during the fall. The report added that the accident could have been less severe if connected crash barriers had been installed instead of parapet blocks.
When contacted, assistant regional transport officer (ARTO) Rudraprayag, Pramod Karnatak, said, “The issue of licence fees has come up and it is being probed. The time at which the licence fee was submitted is also being looked into.”
Another official, requesting anonymity, confirmed to TOI that the crash barriers installed there were not connected with each other.
Significantly, the govt had ordered a magisterial enquiry into the accident, which has been the worst this summer.
The officials involved in the report noted that the road from Rishikesh to Rudraprayag, constructed under the All-Weather Char Dham Road project, was currently “in good condition with a speed limit of 30-km per hour.” However, most vehicles were observed to be over-speeding, putting lives at risk.
The report further suggested installing rumble strips, white markings and other measures to restrict the speed limit at accident-prone spots.
The condition of the accident site indicated that the driver had lost control of the vehicle, likely due to speeding and sleep deprivation, as he had been driving continuously for over 11 hours.
It also highlighted the need to improve parking arrangements in Shivpuri, Devprayag, Dhari Devi temple and Brahmapuri to reduce traffic jams caused by roadside parking. Drivers often overspeed after passing through traffic to compensate for lost time, increasing the risk of accidents on the roads ahead.
Joint transport commissioner Sanat Kumar Singh said the department would “consider all the points to improve the situation and act accordingly.”

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