Expressing dismay over repeated violations of traffic rules, Justice N. Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court on Monday said it is time for the government to announce that riders and drivers without helmets and seat belts would not be given treatment free of cost in government hospitals if they happen to meet with road accidents.

The judge made the observation during the hearing of a petition filed by advocate N. Senthil Kumar seeking a direction to the State government to establish trauma care centres at an interval of every 20 km on highways and other roads. The petitioner claimed that many lives could be saved if victims could be treated within the golden hour.

However, government pleader T.N. Rajagopalan contended that it might not be prudent to establish trauma care centres at a distance of every 20 km as sought by the petitioner. He said the petitioner should necessarily include the Central government and the National Highways Authority of India as respondents to the case since most accidents occur on national Highways.

‘Drivers careless’

The prime cause for road accidents was the carelessness of the motorists who ride the vehicles either in a rash and negligent manner or in an inebriated condition, he said, and impressed upon the need for self-discipline among motorists. However, Justice V. Parthiban disagreed with him and said nothing would work but for enforcement.

“Let us not live in an utopian world… The expression ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ perfectly applies to our society. We will never obey law unless it is enforced with penalties,” he said. Concurring with him, Justice Kirubakaran said public money should not be spent on treating people who got injured because they did not wear helmets and seat belts.

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