Inbuilt speed limits for vehicles can check fatalities due to speeding | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Inbuilt speed limits for vehicles can check fatalities due to speeding

Reducing the speed of vehicles should be a temporary solution; the long-term goal should be to improve transport infrastructure across the country to meet international standards. Inculcating good road sense and a culture to follow the rules will go a long way in reducing road fatalities

editorials Updated: Feb 19, 2017 23:01 IST
In 2015, of the total 501,423 roads accidents, almost 48% were linked to overspeeding, and 64,633, or 44% of the total, fatalities in road accidents were attributed to overspeeding
In 2015, of the total 501,423 roads accidents, almost 48% were linked to overspeeding, and 64,633, or 44% of the total, fatalities in road accidents were attributed to overspeeding(Praful Gangurde/HT )

Last week, a parliamentary panel recommended to the government speed controllers the regulation of the speed of vehicles in accordance with Indian road conditions, and that at the moment the speed limits in most of the vehicles were designed to meet international standards. This, if implemented, it is hoped, will reduce the number of roads accidents and fatalities, which at the moment touch six-digit figures every year.

The statistics according to the ministry of road transport and highways highlight the urgency with which the panel’s recommendations need to be considered: In 2015, of the total 501,423 roads accidents, almost 48% were linked to overspeeding, and 64,633, or 44% of the total, fatalities in road accidents were attributed to this.

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That is a staggering 177 deaths every day due to overspeeding — deaths that probably could have been avoided had in-built speed controllers been in place. Statistics also show that this speed menace is hitting India’s youth. Of the 146,133 road accident deaths in 2015, 54% of the victims were in the age group 15-34 years.

The concept of controlling vehicle speeds keeping in mind the conditions of Indian roads is a good proposal — in principle. It is to be seen how the government, if it considers the panel’s suggestion, implements it. Moreover, road accidents and fatalities in India are high not for want of laws, but for the shoddy implementation of existing ones. Driving on roads, anywhere in the country, is a challenge if you follow the laws — drivers often flout traffic signals, drive on the wrong side and use pavements to evade traffic jams. These and more happen because the existing traffic laws are ignored.

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As noted by the panel in its report, our RTOs are overcrowded and understaffed making them “a den of corruption”. It also notes that many of the accidents along the highways happen because of wrong/illegal parking.

Reducing the speed of vehicles should be a temporary solution; the long-term goal should be to improve transport infrastructure across the country to meet international standards. Inculcating good road sense and a culture of following the rules will go a long way in reducing fatalities.