The All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation, a group of trade unions representing drivers and transport workers, warned on Wednesday that it would intensify protests if the Centre did not withdraw the new law on hit-and-run cases, The Hindu reported.

Several drivers’ unions, who are protesting at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, said that they would continue to agitate despite the All India Motor Transport Congress calling off the protests on Tuesday after meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.

Truck, bus and tanker operators have been protesting against a clause in the newly-enacted Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita that provides for a jail term of up to 10 years and a penalty of up to Rs 7 lakh for accident cases in which drivers flee the spot or fail to report it promptly to a police officer or magistrate.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has received the assent of President Droupadi Murmu, but the government is yet to announce the date from when it will take effect.

Hit-and-run cases are currently prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code and attract imprisonment for a year, which can be extended up to two years, with a fine of more than Rs 1,000 or both. In cases of deaths, the police can also file cases under Section 302, which relates to murder.

Transport associations and drivers had begun a strike against the provision on Monday. However, the All India Motor Transport Congress on Tuesday asked truck drivers to return to work after the meeting with the home secretary.

R Lakshmaiah, the general secretary of the All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation, said on Wednesday that most accidents occur because of bad roads, the lack of segregation of vehicular traffic and bad weather, among other reasons, reported The Hindu.

“Without addressing the real issues contributing to accidents, simply punishing the drivers will not yield results and it is inhuman,” he said.

Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, said that the organisation wholeheartedly supports the striking workers. “Sensing the surging support for the strike among the vehicle-driving public and workers, the government has assured not to implement that punitive provision but has not uttered any word to revise the same,” he said.

Rashtriya Sarthi Sevak Foundation president Divendra Sharma told The Hindu that the drivers fear for their lives after accidents, due to which they sometimes escape from the site.

“A commercial driver, traversing different states, is much more likely to get lynched if he accidentally hits someone, and in order to save their lives, they flee the spot,” he said. “No driver sets out on the roads to kill people.”

Besides revoking the new law, protesters are demanding a drivers’ commission that would legally help drivers, provide them with perks such as a provident fund, pension and ensure good education for their children.