As of May 2020, there have been 92 deaths and 162 serious injuries on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is one of the best pieces of road-infrastructure which our country can boast about. However, its image has been tainted by multiple accidents primarily caused by reckless driving done by inconsiderate drivers; overspeeding (less capable and poorly-built vehicles) in most cases.
If we were to talk about numbers, there have been 46 accidents on the 94km-long expressway till May 2020. Out of these, 16 accidents turned out to be fatal and led to the demise of 17 individuals. Additionally, there were 10 accidents which resulted in more than 20 people getting seriously injured.
In 2019, 306 accidents were reported on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. This led to 92 deaths and 162 casualties. As a measure to reduce the accident rate, the fine for overspeeding was increased from Rs 200 to Rs 1000 back then. Yet the number of accidents or offenders creating such risks have not gone down.
Considering these alarming figures, authorities are now working on a new pilot project to curtail the number of accidents on the expressway. The Highway Police aims to figure out the average speed of offending vehicles as a first step to reduce mishaps on the path. Scheduled to go live from next month, the project was designed and conceptualized by Mr Vinay Korgaonkar, Additional Director General of Police, Highway Police of Maharashtra. Here is how the Highway Police intends to solve the nuisance of reckless driving:
Officials on duty will start comparing CCTV footage from two different ‘toll nakas’, namely Urse and Khalapur. Through the footage, the overall time taken by a vehicle to cover the distance between either toll plaza will be calculated.
The distance between the tolls of Urse and Khalapur is roughly 50km. This includes a 15km ghat section too. The maximum speed limit on regular sections is set at 100km/h while vehicles are allowed to cross the ghats only at 50km/h. On average, the time to travel 50km should be around 37 minutes (with a 5 per cent margin) for any vehicle driving at an optimum speed. Hence, if a vehicle lands up crossing the two toll plazas in less than 37 minutes, it is easy to infer that the vehicle was overspeeding. All overspeeding vehicles identified by the new system will be sent an e-challan.
Mr Digambar Pradhan, Superintendent, Highway Police believes that overspeeding is the primary cause of accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and there is an immediate requirement of a remedy system. If the project is successful, it will be scaled up across the Mumbai-Pune Expressway before being introduced on National Highways in phases.