Truck crash kills 22 in southern Indian highway: Police

BANGALORE, India (AFP) - A truck packed with labourers flipped over on a southern Indian highway on Saturday, leaving at least 22 people dead, including women and children, police said.

The small truck carrying some 35 labourers, overturned early in the morning near Belgaum, about 500km from the Karnataka state capital of Bangalore.

"The mini-truck overturned after the driver lost control and hit a roadside median on the state highway," Belgaum police chief Chandra Gupta said.

One of the survivors said that the driver was drowsy at the wheel.

Twelve people injured were in hospital, while police filed a case against the driver for rash and negligent driving, Gupta added.

Last month, a speeding bus exploded into flames when it hit a highway median in southern India, burning 45 passengers to death.

Around 140,000 people died in road accidents in India in 2012, according to the government's National Crime Records Bureau.

Bad roads, speeding vehicles and poor driving are among the factors contributing to accidents.

Commercial drivers are largely unregulated, meaning many work long hours through the night, raising the danger of them falling asleep at the wheel, campaigners say.

"The driver was drowsy and driving fast when the vehicle hit the median," one of the survivors of Saturday's crash said.